Arch­aeology summer camp teaches grave tales

Summer camp at UTSA Center for Arch­aeological Research offers kids chance to dig into the past


SAN ANTONIO - In what may be one of the most unlikely summer camps being offered to San Antonio kids, UTSA’s Center for Archaeological Research has four weeklong camps for kids ages 9-13, teaching everything from bones to mummies, and even a little vampire fun.

All of it is intended to introduce scientific research to these students, some of whom have a liking already for archaeology.

Clarissa Verastegei is one camper who is ready to begin her career investigating the past.

Her first activity was an archaeological dig, complete with bones and more.

“We saw bottles and bricks and we dug up jewelry and bones," she said.

From there, the students catalogued the items, and tried to find a story.

Mariah Scott-Hanley found the resulting revelations unexpected interesting.

She said, "I like how you can kind of figure out what your ancestors and other people from farther back in history did and how they were able to survive then and compare with what they did then and now."

Leading the way is the director of the Legacy staff, archaeologist Nathan Heep, who points out that some of the lessons learned by the kids is not how different life was for people living in years past, but how similar.

He notes, "They had things they sacrificed for, they had things they tried to give up, they had to eat, they had friends, they had loved ones, they had enemies. So life back then really wasn't so different from life now."

Many of the activities are intended to entertain in what some may think is an odd way.

The children will be making a mummy mask, a tombstone, as well as a sarcophagus. There are also plans for a bit of whimsy, including a vampire activity or two.

At the root of it all however, according to Heep, is science.

“X and Y graphs and planes, systematic ways of doing research, methodology, the different ways to do research, what a hypothesis is, how to actually do an experiment," he explained.

While the Legacy staff says the four weeklong camps are popular, there are still some slots available for children ages 9-13.

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