Skeletons of the Past
Over the course of several years, the San Bernardino County museum received boxes filled with artifacts from the earliest B.C. As students locate the packages, they work with artifacts that are wrapped in plastic bubble wrap. Bubble wrap contains air pockets and an acidic environment. Acid in the artifacts deteriorates and leave them in an unstable condition. When archaeologists discovered the artifacts in the 1970’s, they couldn’t figure out a system in which to preserve the pieces. The students are responsible for maintaining a better condition and preservation for them.
“So what we do is we take those boxes, and we’ll take them out. Recording the number, photographing them, take four different pictures at different angles, scale to see how big they are too and we’ll record them, put them on a sheet of paper, upload them online to a site called Argus. We wrap them back up in paper that are acid free and place them in an acid free box. Once it’s in inventory, we make sure that’s ok, and we’ll start the process again on another box,” Tyler Case mentions.
Some of the artifacts were displayed onto a piece of paper, the students then needed to clean the glue off the artifacts to conserve them. Argus is a website which authorizes anyone to store photographs and inventory. Some artifacts photographs haven’t been updated in the past 50 years. The photographs will help other individuals see the artifacts in a better quality. One discovery the students found working in the museum are bones embedded in some of the artifacts.
“Sometimes we get bones, and we don’t know if their human or funnel. So we have a skeleton expert come in and tell us if it’s human remains or funnel,” says intern, Patricia Garcia. With the help of the skeleton expert, will further the students progress in storing the information about the artifacts more accurately and up to date.
The anticipation and the surprise on the findings in the boxes, is what keeps the students engaged and motivated to learn more. “It’s definitely been a cool experience, it’s awesome. All the stuff we get to handle everyday, the stuff we get to see. You pull a box and you don’t know what is going to be in that box. There can be arrowhead, sorts of different bones, I like rocks so it’s cool to see some cool rocks in there. So you really never know what you’ll find in the box, it’s cool,” Case shares being an intern at the museum.