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The Wylie House Museum and the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology are collaborating to host an Indiana University Archaeological Fieldwork course for the month of June.
IU students are learning archaeological field methods while searching for two buried garden facilities dating from the second half of the 19th century. The investigation on the Wylie property relies upon archival materials (correspondence, writings, photographs, and a memory map) as well as modern archaeological methods (remote sensing and GIS-based technologies) to identify the area in which the excavation takes place. The project focuses on the residents of the Wylie House, their daily lives, and how their gardening practices exemplify the shift from early 19th century subsistence farming in Bloomington to the development of agriculture and floriculture later in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Rebecca and Professor Theophilus Wylie family members built subterranean greenhouses lined with brick and covered with glass to overwinter their plants, most of which were ornamental flowers not needed to provide sustenance for the family. This was a change from the larger farming practices that occurred on Wylie land prior to 1860 when President Andrew Wylie and his family resided in the home.
The fieldwork course contributes to the larger IU Bicentennial Project being pursued by the Glenn A. Black Laboratory and the Wylie House Museum which aims to ensure the protection of Indiana University's cultural heirtage through documenting, surveying, and preserving historic spaces and artifacts. The front lawn of the 1835 Wylie House provides students an ideal historic archaeological site and an opportunity for the community to engage with the class and learn more about local Bloomington and IU history.
The public is welcome to stop by the site to see what students are unearthing, Monday through Friday 8:00am - 3:30pm. In addition, Community Volunteer Day Opportunities are available each Friday during the month of June while the fieldwork is occurring. Registration is required; please sign up for volunteer shifts in advance. Space is limited and volunteers must be at least age 18.
Check out the Wylie House Museum Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/wyliehousemuseum/ or the Glenn A. Black Laboratory Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/glennblacklab/ for featured photos of the dig.