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Perham, Mills students find artifacts, treasures

Prairie Wind Middle School fifth graders Johanna Winkels, Emma Bowers and Merta Vorderbruger proudly display a 1960s nickel they discovered at the school district's Alternative Learning Center. Submitted Photo1 / 2
Prairie Wind Middle School sixth graders sift through dirt back in the classroom from various digging sites. Sifting allows for discovery of artifacts that can't be identified through metal detecting. Submitted Photo2 / 2

Perham and New York Mills students in Rex Kingsbury's enrichment program recently became 21st Century archaeologists.

The archaeology unit had third through sixth graders researching and exploring various archaeological digs, such as King Tut's Tomb and Pompeii, but centered on discovering various artifacts in their own nearby surroundings and communities.

In Perham, students took metal detectors and combed school grounds, including the 1910 residence and grounds that now serve as the district's Alternative Learning Center.

Hunting areas in New York Mills included the school campus, Lund Park and Smith Park.

Students were very successful in finding a variety of artifacts and treasures, including nearly 100 old coins, old bottle caps and cans, various building materials such as square nails, old tools, a civil war era coat weight, and other various signs of life and activity from the last 150 years.

Kingsbury said one of his greatest finds was, "discovering how the children became aware of their history in their own back yard, and the excitement they have to continue searching for artifacts on their own."