Friday, April 10, 2009

Mohegan Archeaology Field School June 22 - July 31

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A unique opportunity exists for tribal members to study archaeology on the Mohegan homelands and even receive college credits from a state university for the course.

Tribal members and non-tribal students will learn side-by-side in a six-week course that will include time spent both in the classroom and out in the field on the Mohegan Reservation. In its 15th year, this year's course may be the last time members can participate with Mohegan Archeaologist Dr. Jeff Bendremer.

What better way to get a feel for how your ancestors lived and how Mohegans evolved over time. Students will also interact with the Tribe’s dedicated archaeology staff, an informed group that has spent much time excavating Mohegan sites and studying the Tribe’s history. The class begins on June 22 and ends on July 31.

The exciting news for Mohegans is that there is still be room in the course for new students. Your participation will not only be worth 6 college credits from Eastern Connecticut State University – if you choose - but will contribute to the Tribe’s efforts to better understand Mohegan life-ways, trade, warfare, belief systems, subsistence and economics. No previous coursework or experience is required.

Students will also have the opportunity to examine many artifacts recovered from past excavations, including pottery, pipes, wampum beads and projectile points (arrowheads). Part of this collection has come from archaeologists who have dug on Mohegan homelands a half-century ago and earlier.

Besides learning excavation techniques, artifact processing and Mohegan Indian history, the program concentrates on exploring the relationships between archaeologists and Native Americans through lectures and speakers that include scholars and dignitaries from local tribes.

This year’s course will mark the 15th year of what is called the Eastern Connecticut State University Archaeological Field School, making it one of the oldest field collaborations with an Indian tribal government, according to the Tribe. Each project is authorized by the Mohegan Council of Elders and operates under the supervision of the Mohegan Cultural and Community Programs Department.

Dr. Bendremer worked on the Mohegan Reservation as a volunteer for five years, beginning in 1994, and was later hired by the tribe in 1999. Before that, Dr. Bendremer had worked with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and has participated in numerous excavations of Indian sites in Connecticut. Mohegan archaeology department staff will impart their knowledge of the Mohegan culture and experiences digging at various sites on the Reservation.

The course starts soon so call email Dr. Bendremer at jbendremer@moheganmail.com to request an information packet.

While students learn they are also contributing to the Tribe’s need for manpower in excavating sites on the current and former Mohegan lands. Tribal members are encouraged to participate.