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Archaeology students take part in Alabama Bicentennial celebration

November 19, 2019

A recent event at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park gave Troy University archaeology students the opportunity to present to the community how history is forged through excavation and research.

Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement Walter Givhan, who serves as president of the Alabama Historical Commission, emceed Old Cahawba State Historical Park’s celebration of Alabama’s Bicentennial on Oct. 4, 2019, which included a display tent set up by TROY archeology students.

“We were talking to the general public and showing them how archeology allows us to figure out the past,” said Dr. Jason Mann, the Director of the Archaeological Research Center and a Lecturer in Anthropology. “It is the best way to learn about Alabama history, because the history of Alabama essentially goes back about 15,000 years and (the land) is incredibly old and incredibly diverse.”

Old Cahawba Historical Park

Cahawba, which served as the first capitol of Alabama in 1819, still holds rich history in its soil that future archeologists from TROY’s department were able to visit.

During the event, the Alabama Historical Commission had an open excavation of the land where the first Alabama statehouse stood, the foundation of which is still visible on the property.

The state has a variety of unique resources that have been historically vital to the state’s growth and history, Mann and his students explained to those in attendance of the event.

“Many key and important episodes of American history happened pretty much right here in Alabama, and so we use archeology to learn about those things and discover how people lived in the past, and they tell the true story,” Mann said. Mann instills in his students that it is the archaeologist’s job to interact with the general public to ensure that they “place importance on the stuff that’s in the past,” and the responsibility to educate the public is a priority within the program.