Archaeology for Everybody: Summer School at the Cliff Mine

Ever had an Indiana Jones fantasy? Now is your chance to indulge it.  During the first summer session, Tech students and those from other colleges and universities, high school students and community seniors are all being invited to apply for the Cliff Mine Project’s fourth field research season.  Participants will help the University’s industrial archaeologists document the historic copper mine found along the 200-foot greenstone bluff that runs up the spine of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

The “Cliff Vein” produced more than 38 million pounds of refined copper over a 40 year period, paying dividends to its investors totaling $2.5 million.  People working in the mine and living in the town of Clifton transformed the social and technological practices of mining, starting America’s first successful industrial mining boom.

The field research project runs from May 13 through June 28, led by Associate Professors Timothy Scarlett and Samuel Sweitz (Social Sciences), working closely with project archaeologists Sean Gohman and Lee Presley.

“Learning archaeological fieldwork is an immersive experience where teamwork is essential,” Scarlett said.  “It takes weeks of work before a person can begin assembling the clues from each discovery into meaningful pictures of the past. Students should expect the work to be exacting, often slow and physically challenging.”  Those accepted into the course will be expected to work 8-hour days, 5 days a week throughout the 6-week course.

The course can be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit, at the regular undergraduate or graduate cost per credit hour.  It can be audited as a lifelong learning experience at no fee for seniors.

Information about class registration and costs can be found at registration/costs.

Explore the Cliff Mine research blog, which archives information from several years of fieldwork and research, at blog.

Published in Tech Today by Jenn Donovan, public relations director