The College of William and Mary may be located in one of the most historically rich areas in the country, but let’s face it: A student here can easily grow accustomed to the immense offerings available on the other side of Confusion Corner, even to the point of not being surprised when confronted with Colonially-clad shoppers in Bloom. Announcements like the one that came out this week — that 30 years of research has finally culminated in the discovery of Argall Towne, a colonial-era settlement located just down the road outside of Jamestown that until now had been lost to the sands of time — remind us that there are unique cultural resources available to students here. The moment is right for the College to consider redoubling its efforts to ensure local archaeological research opportunities for students are available to the fullest extent possible.
Since the discovery of Argall Towne, students from Christopher Newport University have been involved in excavating relics from the site, which is exactly the kind of thing our own anthropology students should have more opportunities to do. Currently, many students already work or volunteer for Colonial Williamsburg, although such interns and volunteers are generally used for menial tasks like washing relics. We should press to create more for-credit opportunities that are educationally rewarding for students.
However, the best we can do in CW is to make our students available and hope a use can be found for them. One area the College controls is the campus itself. In recent years, there have been several archaeological excavations on campus in which there was no student involvement whatsoever. Going forward, the least we can do is make sure this never happens again.