Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Victoria Newman, 7, digs for treasure during the Archaeology and Ancient World Camp on Friday afternoon in Lawrenceville.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Kids playfully fought over shoebox-sized containers filled with sand and hidden artifacts before settling down to examine their treasures at the Archaeology and Ancient World day camp's Mystery Dig Friday.
Catherine Jordan, 9, of Dacula, meticulously searched her container for artifacts such as coins, seashells, arrowheads and tiles as she contrived fanciful stories of their origins and the people who used them.
She believed her objects came "from the Mayans that must have been trading with Europeans because I'm seeing a lot of coins from Europe and Mexico."
"They must have been trading with a rich country too because I keep finding big jewels," added Andrew Byron, 9, of Lawrenceville.
The Archaeology and Ancient World day camp, which focused on Egypt, Rome and ancient civilizations, is hosted by the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center at the Lawrenceville Female Seminary.
It is one of several camp themes using history to educate and entertain children throughout the summer. Past themes have included Renaissance Camp, Prehistoric Georgia and Wild West Camp.
However, Caine Campbell, 9, of Dacula said Archaeology Camp has been his favorite so far.
"I thought this one was the best because we threw toilet paper, and it was awesome," Caine said of their mummy-wrapping activity.
The campers also made tile mosaics, learned about constellations and painted papier mache cat mummies to learn about culture in ancient civilizations.
"I learned a lot about mummification in Egypt," Catherine said. "It's a 70-day process. First, they take the body, they pull out the brain using this long hook -- it's kind of nasty. Then they pull out the organs and put them in the canopic jars; they were very sacred to them. And then they leave the heart in. It was very important because that was like the brain to us. That was the home of your soul so they kept that in the body. And they put spices in it, and salt, and they dried out the body and they wrapped the body. They put charms on the body to protect it."
Camp Counselor Margaret Hotle, 18, of Dacula said she loves working with the kids and watching them learn.
"At least for me, I hope they just get the big picture out because in school I know they get all the details and all the facts and the dates and things like that, but this is more, I think, interesting," Hotle said. "It's more things they like to learn and hear about."
Catherine and Caine both said they were disappointed to see the week come to an end, but they hope to return next year.
"It's just really cool," Catherine said. "I think of the history of the Earth as a story book filled with magic and just excitement. ... I just like the mystery of history."