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Dig for cultural awareness

Behind a plantation of blue gums in a far corner of South Regional TAFE’s Albany campus, the land recently resembled a scene from Time Team.

Students were on their knees, busily scraping out staked pits with meticulous care, removing and sieving the earth and examining remnants for unusual matter.

It was an impressive scene.

The archaeological activity was part of the Certificate III in Aboriginal-Sites Work course, for which students worked under the supervision of lecturer Larry Blight and local archaeologist Paul Greenfeld.

Larry explained the students were looking for artefacts in an area near an old soak, which could have been the site of an Aboriginal camp many generations ago.

After scrutinising the earth they had dug out, the students placed anything unusual in zip-lock bags and recorded their findings.

Student Franklyn Teio took a break from the methodical dig to discuss the techniques he had learnt.

“We scrape gently and look for any artefacts or anything unusual as we go, then we extract it carefully,” he said.

He said passing the earth through a series of sieves of various grades helped the students to extract anything of interest.

Franklyn explained this activity was one part of a varied course, which he had enjoyed not only for the skills he had picked up, but also for learning about his own culture.

“It’s been interesting, I’ve learnt a lot about GPS and archaeology as well,” Franklyn said.

“And I’m hoping I can use it to get a job,” he smiled.

Paul Greenfeld demonstrated the procedure for accurate recording of a significant find by planting objects in the pits for the students to discover. They plotted the position and recorded measurements of each object as they unearthed it, then bagged it, as they would for a real find to be reported and archived.

At the end of the dig, students reinstated the earth and took away a few items of significance.

A piece of quartz and another of ochre were their most exciting finds, and though they were hoping to discover stone artefacts proving the area had been used as an Aboriginal campsite, they were unlucky on the days they were digging.

For more on the Aboriginal-Sites Work course, visit the website at http://bit.ly/2t5XYWo or phone the Albany campus on 9892 8888.


Pictured is Certificate III in Aboriginal-Sites Work student Franklyn Teio scraping an archaeological pit in the hope of finding Aboriginal artefacts.

Page last updated November 28, 2017