Share |

Every day is new knowledge

Every morning I wake up at 6 a.m.

I crawl out of my cool-crisp hotel bed and stumble into the shower.

Being a sportswriter for some time I've become accustomed to sleeping in and working late evenings, but since I started at the Osage News I've had to change my ways.

But this week, I am in Arkansas and I have to wake up at 6 a.m. if I'm going to make it to the excavation site with the rest of the bunch.

The site is about 30 to 40 minutes south of Russellville.

We first have to drive all the way across town and make maze-like turns before we get to our destination located on a stretch of land used for duck hunting.

Out there on the site there's no more than 20 of us everyday.

We dig together; eat together and drive together; we're around each other for a large part of the day.

Yesterday, I decided to jump right in and get my hands and knees dirty.

I decided to be a listener. With a small group of us out there I though I'd get to know some people and see exactly who it was that was digging up the possible artifacts of the Osage ancestors.

First was Mike Evans.

Evans is a survey research assistant with the Arkansas Archaeological Survey University of Arkansas System.

He attended the University of Arizona more than 20 years ago to study mechanical engineering but couldn't afford it and decided to move back home and save some money so he could go back.

He got a job with the survey and was quick to fall in love with the work.

"Anybody that likes history gets a kick out of this stuff," Evans said. "Maybe you'll rewrite history a little bit. You get on these projects and you think you know a lot but you don't know anything."

For the past 20 years Evans has been digging up past-war battlefields and many archaeological sites including many excavations.

He's an archaeologist, a dairy farmer, blacksmith, a husband and a father. He said every time he discovers something it feels like it did 20 years ago.

"Everything's different, every site is different," Evans said. "It's a good job if you love being outside, love to travel and love to play in the dirt."

Then there's Marion Haynes, the station assistant at Blidville Research Station. He is an older gentleman who's seen a lot in life.

Growing up in Arkansas as a kid Haynes didn't play sports. Instead he spent his adolescent years picking cotton, which is common in the state.

Haynes jumps at every small discovery and constantly hopes for bigger ones.

His wit and relaxed character gives humor to the excavation.

From Osage Country is Trini Haddon.

Haddon, from Pawhuska, for the moment is a stay-at-home mother. She spends most of her time with her young son but decided the excavation would be worth her time too.

Haddon is mother to everyone on the field.

When we took a break yesterday morning she handed out Girl Scouts cookies to everyone and picked up empty water bottles throughout the day.

Everyone here has a different story but they are all here for the same reasons.

Everyone is curious about finding new information that will lead to better information.

Some say they just love to play in the dirt, others say it's their job, but all say it's simply fun.

At the end of the day we make the drive back; our heads filled with knowledge and our pants scarred with mud.

Yet we wake up another day and head out in search for new information.