Kent State archaeology team brings artifacts to life in re-creation lab

KENT, Ohio - Some of the world’s best archaeologists are digging right now in sights across Europe, Australia, and Africa.

In Northeast Ohio though, work is being done that’s turning heads and grabbing the attention of world renowned archaeologists.

With the help of a $215,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Metin Eren the Director of Archaeology at Kent State University is leading the way for archaeological research around the globe.

“We’ve been really fortunate here at Kent State, the university has invested quite a lot in helping us build one of the best, most unique labs in the country, if not the world,” said Eren.

What’s being done at Kent State is something very new: recreating things that are very old.

“We do what a lot of other archaeology labs do, we dig sites and we analyze the artifacts, but to do experimental archaeology, to recreate the artifacts, to basically reverse engineer these prehistoric technologies is crazy unique,” said Eren.

Eren is spearheading the school’s artifact re-creation project which aims to bring ancient artifacts, thousands of years old, from around the world, back to life.

Eren and a team of students and colleagues is doing this to test, break, and study the artifacts to figure out how they would be used and how environments would impact their effectiveness.

“We can replicate any artifact from around the world, any time period, right here at Kent State and contribute to our understanding of evolution, because we don’t have to dig at those sites, we can make those artifacts here and then study them,” he said.

The work being done is so unique, time consuming, and important, that these scholars have recreated artifacts for universities and researchers in almost every corner of the globe.

Eren, came to Kent State last year from Kent University in England. A Northeast Ohio native, he brought back with him years of experience digging up artifacts in some of the world’s most well-known archaeological sites. But it’s his work here he says, the digs in Northeast Ohio and his work recreating North American artifacts that he finds so special.

“People around the world are taking notice of Kent State and Northeast Ohio in terms of archaeology,” he said.

The team of archaeologists at Kent State will be recreating artifacts as a part of a three year collaboration with Southern Methodist University and the University of Tulsa.

The team also will be starting an archaeological dig this summer in Mahoning County. You can learn more about the program here.

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