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Registration is open for historical dig near Hays

5/5/2013

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Training and the chance to participate in an archeological excavation soon will be available in Ellis County.

But one of its organizers is suggesting against waiting until the last minute to sign up.

The public is being invited to join in a dig south of Hays, at the presumed site of the Billy Dixon trading post, also known as Whisky Ranch.

But there's a catch: volunteers have to sign up and pay a registration fee for the field school. The cost is $30 for members of the Kansas Anthropological Association or $90 for non members. Membership in the KAA is less expensive, however.

This year's Kansas archeology training program field school will be June 1 to 16, offering the chance to look into the history of the post-Civil War era in Ellis County.

As an adjunct, a field survey will be conducted to relocate and document stations along the Butterfield Overland Despatch -- also known as the Smoky Hill Trail -- in southern Ellis County.

Registration is required for access to the excavation site.

Project headquarters for classes and the artifact processing lab will be on the campus of Fort Hays State University. Visitors can visit the field school lab on campus to see artifacts being processed. Classes offered include archeological fieldwork, cultural reconstruction, Kansas prehistory and mapping.

A number of evening programs are planned and some will be free and open to the public. A collectors night is planned for June 5, allowing the public to bring in artifacts for identification by archeologists.

Details of the dig and registration materials are available at www.kshs.org/14622.