Students Digging Up Historical Artifacts At Gold Coast Site

CHICAGO (CBS) — The grounds of the historic Charnley Persky House on the corner of Astor and Schiller has been the scene of an archeological dig for the past four weeks.

“This site has some interesting garbage from the 19th and early 20th century that was discovered in 2003. Right now we have two excavation units. The students are finishing up, taking out materials, screening them, then we are going to be drawing the soils and taking pictures before we close up the holes again,” said Professor Rebecca Graff of Lake Forest College. “We’ve found bottles, plates, burned bones, coal and lots of material, cheese containers, ointments, jars of Vaseline from a hundred years ago.”

The excavation is part of an $800,000 four-year grant at Lake Forest College from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to involve students and faculty in urban archaeological digs in Chicago.

16-year-old Lillie Therieau says the dig has been a great experience.

“I’ve always loved history so being able to actually do it really connects you more. I never thought I’d ever get to do archaeology. It’s just a personal way to get in touch with history.”

Dr. Rebecca Graff leads the archeological dig on Chicago's Gold Coast. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Dr. Rebecca Graff leads the archeological dig on Chicago’s Gold Coast. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Artifacts already found at the site include glass containers, old bottles, old toothbrushes and Wedgwood tile which will be sent to the lab for analysis. They will then be displayed within the house’s museum.

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