Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and I realize that I don’t have a lot of time to write anything remotely profound about this week. However, this week was pretty damn profound.
On Monday, I was lucky enough to have a client fly me and one of my account managers to James Madison’s (yes, our founding father) Montpelier (over 2,500 acres of land) in Virginia for the first-ever excavation of the grounds. (Evelyn, the account manager, was live-blogging and live-tweeting during our time there. We set up Minelabevents.com for this purpose.)
What was so interesting about this is that my client (Minelab Metal Detectors) partnered with Archaeologists to dig up artifacts only 4-6 inches below ground – this had never been done before. Not a group that typically works together.
However, as Evelyn wrote, “Whether the interests revolve around Civil War artifacts or Native American reservations, everyone seems to have a passion for history and what lies below the ground. The difference, as [Justin] Herbst, Archaeology Intern at Montpelier, puts it is “shovels to trowels.”
Since this was a private estate, no one had ever plowed over anything, so all the finds were just below ground level. I was only there for the first two days, but during that time they found:
- a Civil War Officer’s button on a jacket,
- a bullet from the Civil War era,
- lots of rusty nails (doesn’t sound exciting, but to an archaeologist, this will tell them a lot!)
- a wrench from the 1920′s
- Metal chains
These guys were so passionate about what they do, and some have been in the metal detecting business for over 30 years. A community that I never really knew about, and here they are working with archaeologists to uncover history about one of our founding fathers.
To them, you could tell that it got emotional while down there. As soon as George Washington passed away, his entire estate was entombed, but that hadn’t happened for James Madison. They were deeply proud to be a part of this part of our nation’s history.
I never really considered myself a city girl, but to them – I was. And after sleeping in a house full of lady bugs, japanese beetles and ghosts, and having to pee in the woods – I realized that the city was definitely where I felt most safe.But these were true blue group of men (and a few women!) – I felt like I was meeting the heart of America.
Not to sound cheesy, but they were so kind, so humble and so passionate about what they do, that I couldn’t help but feel so proud of my country in that moment. There are so many ridiculous things happening in the United States right now – talks of closing (or taking away federal money from) the only nonprofit birth control clinic in this country, Planned Parenthood, bumper stickers that take us back in civilization 70 years, millions of people still without jobs…it’s nice to be a part of something that is positive, and reminds us where we came from.