Rochester City Middle School Students on Campus for Indiana Jones Experience

Janye McKinney, a rising 7th grader at the Rochester School of the Arts, clears an area during an archaeological dig on the SUNY Geneseo campus. She is among 52 middle-school students from the Rochester City School District participating in the Rochester Young Scholars Academy at Geneseo summer camp.

GENESEO, N.Y. - Middle-school-aged Indiana Joneses from the Rochester City School District are at SUNY Geneseo through July 29 doing real archaeological work at a site on campus believed to be the location of a prehistoric hunting camp.

The 52 students are part of the Rochester Young Scholars Academy at Geneseo (RYSAG), and the two-week residential "D.I.G. Camp" (Discovering the Iroquois) is designed to interest them in science and history by participating in three courses: Excavation; Archaeology/Numerics Lab and History; and Research and Rhetoric. It's the fifth year the college has conducted the camp.

"We had a similar archaeological theme at the 2008 camp and it was so successful, we decided bring it back this year," said Susan Norman, camp director and director of Geneseo's Xerox Center for Multicultural Teacher Education. "The students in 2008 actually unearthed projectile points believed to be 4,000 to 6,000 years old from a prehistoric camp so the students are back on the site now to see what other treasures they can bring to the surface. Most of our campers will know little about archaeology but they likely have heard about Indiana Jones and will quickly learn about the science involved in uncovering our past."

Geneseo faculty members are teaching the students to conduct an archaeological dig; to identify evidence; document the site through digital photography, mapping and mathematical analysis; think critically to connect clues through contextual and cultural hints, library based research and scientific method in an archaeology lab; use state-of-the-art technology; and practice and improve public speaking skills by creating a museum exhibit to be presented to interested stakeholders. Geneseo undergraduate students and Rochester City School District staff are participating as counselors.

VIDEO: Rochester City School District social studies teacher Kristen Pasquarella discusses an archaeological dig she supervised during the first week of the camp.

The camp will culminate in a graduation ceremony July 29 following a town hall presentation where the students will showcase their work. The RYSAG program continues during the school year through a Saturday school program at the Rochester Public Library, where Geneseo education faculty and students do academic follow-up with the RYSAG students involved in the summer camp to continue developing their critical thinking skills.

Funding this year for the camp is being provided by the Xerox Corp., SUNY Geneseo and the Rochester City School District.

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