Children and adults have been spending time in downtown Newark's recently uncovered canal lock on First Street, trying to find archaeological artifacts.

Children and adults have been spending time in downtown Newark's recently uncovered canal lock on First Street, trying to find archaeological artifacts.

The Works sponsored a summer program for youth, teaching them about archaeology and anthropology by allowing them to be part of an actual dig at the site.

"It's exciting for them because they actually find things and it's a real site; there's nothing planted there," said Allison Galbari, a Heidelberg graduate with a bachelor's degree in anthropology. "They are finding things no one else has seen in years."

To introduce children ages 7 to 11 to the world of anthropology and archaeology, Galbari first showed them how to work with trowels and dirt sifters and screens. The screens were made at The Works' wood shop.

"You can't shove your trowel down into the ground; you have to pull it sideways," 10-year-old Collin Charvat said.

Nine-year-old Raegan Elwer said the trowel has to be kept at the level of sedimentation.

Similarly, nothing should be pulled directly out of the site, Charvat said.

"You can't just pull something out. You've got to get everything down to that level before you take it out," he said.

The children have been working in two different groups: The seven- and eight-year-olds are together, and the nine- to 11-year-olds are together. The two groups worked different weeks, and Galbari said she didn't have any trouble getting them to understand how important their work was and how precious the artifacts are.

During their excavation, the children found a small tea cup, possibly from a doll's house, according to 9-year-old Hannah Fleisher. They also found enough pieces of an old bottle that they actually could clean the pieces and put the bottle back together, said Rori Preston, of The Works.

"We've found pieces of bottles, window glass, wood, fabric and loads of other stuff," Elwer said.

Galbari said the children also found several animal bones from fire pits on the site. She said a restaurant once was there and theorized that it had no basement so workers cooked in holes in the ground. She said the bones were from cattle, fish and rodents, and they found one rabbit's tooth. Bones were evaluated off site.

After completing their work, the children set up a small museum of the artifacts they had found.

Galbari said the site would not be excavated completely during the program. The Works, after uncovering the site in September 2008, had a mural painted on the building directly behind the site and has plans to install a transportation park there to teach people about the history of transportation.

The site at the northwest corner of First and Canal streets contains a portion of the Ohio Erie Canal, which ran between Cleveland and Portsmouth in the early 1800s.

The two canal walls that were exposed during the initial excavation in September are 14.5 feet apart. Rings that would have been used to hold horses' straps also were found along what would have been the canal bank.

The Works already has restored the lock master's house, on the northeast corner of the intersection.

Preston said more than 50 children have worked the site throughout the week. Adults are invited to work the site on the weekends.

Preston said a few openings are available for digs to be held this week. Children ages 7 and 8 will work from 1 to 4 p.m. daily July 27 to 31. Admission is $100 for members of The Works and $120 for others.

Adults are invited to dig between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. July 25 and Aug. 1. Admission is $10 per day for members of The Works and $15 for others.

Pre-registration is required for both programs by calling (740) 349-9277 or by visiting

The Works is an interactive complex of 13 buildings in a two-block span between the railroad tracks and South Second Street, south of Canal Street, and features the arts, science and history of the area.