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Although our current exhibit “Rare, Beautiful & Fascinating” focuses on objects from our collections, we have dedicated space where visitors can interact with museum scientists while they work. We have a schedule for each of our collections to guests in the Working Lab during the exhibit’s run.

This week we have had our Environmental Archaeology team working in the lab space, and alongside answering questions, our scientists were inviting visitors to help sort excavated material from a dig site.

On Sunday, a group of young children learned how to sort and analyze material with our lab member, Dr. Jenna Battillo. Jenna was helping one young visitor learn about textures and materials when they made an exciting discovery. A piece of bone fragment looked unusual. Jenna put the carved bone under a dynolite microscope and was delighted to find the detailed markings on the tiny fragment.

The bone fragment is from zooarchaeological collections excavated by Kathy Deagan and colleagues from the site of Puerto Real, Haiti. Our scientists are re-curating the materials to bring them up to modern standards, and they thought our visitors would enjoy helping with the preliminary sorting. We didn’t expect a citizen scientist to find such an unusual artifact!

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