The Connecticut State Library announced that its award-winning experiential education program, Digging Into History, will return in July 2023. The program will be setting up camp in Bolton, Connecticut for an archaeological excavation at Camp No. 5, where Comte de Rochambeau and his French Army camped on their way to Yorktown to help defeat the British army in 1781 during the American Revolution.

Students accepted into the program will live and work side-by-side with 15 French students from the Seicheprey, France area, the site of the Library’s 2019 Digging Into History program. Connecticut State Archaeologist Dr. Sarah Sportman will conduct the excavation with help from the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, which oversees archaeological preserves like Camp No. 5.

“The Bolton Heritage Farm site’s role in the American Revolution makes it an ideal location,” Ellen von Karajan, Executive Director of the National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association, said. “It is our sincere hope that such a project will reveal more multi-dimensional information about what life was like for soldiers in the camp beyond what is recorded in archival information.”

The area the students will be excavating was part of the Reverend Colton’s lands when the French camped there but is now part of the Bolton Heritage Farm, a town-owned preserve. It also has a National Register of Historic Places designation and is an archaeological preserve, making the site off-limits for anyone to dig or metal detect without a permit.

Applications for the program are now being accepted and the deadline for students to apply is at 11:59 p.m. on November 13, 2022. There are only 15 spaces available which will be awarded on a competitive basis. Applicants must be Connecticut high school students currently in 10th or 11th grade. 

In addition to the program for students, the Library is also planning events leading up to the July 2023 camp where the families, partners and community members can get to know each other. Those interested in learning more about the program and the application process can find more information here.

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Tom Hopkins wrote for CII from April 2022 to February 2023. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist.

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