There’s something about placing your fingers inside the footprints left by someone who fashioned a brick with their bare hands centuries ago.
It’s almost like flipping a switch and finally seeing. Something resonates that cannot be experienced in any conference room.
“Your thumb is on their thumb,” said Saylor Fortener, a junior archeology student at Mississippi State University.
That’s the experiment unfolding in Concord Quarters, thanks to a group of undergraduate archeology students from Mississippi State University who unearthed pieces of history that were once buried there.
The beauty of archeology is that it is a tangible way to see and touch history.
It’s the closest you can get without inventing a time machine.
This is an especially important assignment for Concord Quarters owner Debbie Cosey, who has spent years trying to tell history from the slave side. Unfortunately, the historical record of the thousands of people who lived in Natchez during this time is incomplete.
For many, they are identified as property by their cost to their owners, not by name. In recent weeks, remarkable artifacts have been unearthed at Concord that may bring us closer to their story, children’s toys, cups and saucers, and a mourning medallion that may contain hair that once belonged to the late parent or be dear to the wearer.
Such items will be on display in Concord, where there will also be a walking tour showing two ancient water cisterns and parts of the marble staircase that formed part of the entrance to the main house which burned down in 1901.
The artifact collection continues to grow during the students’ month-long summer field study. The site is open to the public the next two Thursdays, June 23 and June 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on what they found.