Volunteer Effort:

Digging into our history!

Despite its regimented approach, the team of excavators at the Elk Run Anglican Church site is an unusual one. Only one member is a professional archaeologist; the rest are passionate amateurs.

—Lila Arzua for The Washington Post, August 9th 2004


Volunteers include Boy Scouts and local 4-H club members, in addition to church patrons and other local community members. Through all their hard work, 129 volunteers have spent 5,803 hours digging for the Elk Run Church project.

“‘You might find something no one else has and change something everybody else thought,’ said 12-year-old-Melanie Fuechsel, a seventh-grader who hopes to become an archaeologist. As she sifted through loose dirt, she spotted what she thought might be a piece of quarts. Upon further inspection, the object turned out to be a fragment of a small coin – a Spanish real, minted in Seville in the 1730s.”

—Lila Arzua for The Washington Post, August 9th 2004


Initially everyone volunteering assisted with uncovering the site, sifting the dirt for artifacts, and cataloging everything found. Once this was done additional measurements were taken at the site and the artifacts were further cleaned and catalogued. Currently archeologist Dr. Eddins is finalizing the research findings, and the artifacts are in storage at St. Stephen’s Church. With the majority of the archeological work completed, volunteer efforts have shifted to preserving the site as a historic park.

Elk Run Church Volunteer hours