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Written by: Nancy Moncrief
Tuesday February 4, 2014

As part of the monthly “Coffee with a Curator” gatherings that VMNH Visitor Services Manager Diane Clark hosts for the VMNH volunteers, I presented an update on some of my outreach activities.  For the past several months, VMNH Curator of Archaeology, Dr. Elizabeth Moore, and I have been working with the junior class of the Piedmont Governor’s School for Math, Science & Technology (PGSMST).

Animal bones (center left) from the James River canal site in Richmond.  These bones are being analyzed by Dr. Elizabeth Moore and the junior class of the PGSMST.

Along with PGSMST faculty member Dr. Nina Huff, Dr. Moore and I are using project-based inquiry to teach the scientific method to these students.  Part of the project involves examining and identifying animal bones that were deposited in the James River canal in Richmond during the 1800’s.  I showed the volunteers some of the artifacts (bones from cows and pigs) along with some comparative material from the VMNH collections.  I explained that some of the bones were from adult animals and some were from immature individuals.  I also pointed out cut marks on some of the bones, which are evidence of how the animals were butchered.

The PGSMST students are in the early stages of identifying the bones and documenting the details about this evidence of human activity in Richmond during the middle of the nineteenth century.  Dr. Moore and I will provide updates on this project in future blog posts.

Dr. Moncrief presents Coffee with a Curator Program to VMNH volunteers

Tags: Dr. Nancy Moncrief, Mammals, Research and Collections