COSTA MESA — High-pitched shouts of "eureka!" chorused out about eight minutes into the archaeological dig at Sonora Elementary School.
On Thursday morning, the sixth-grade students had just unearthed "ancient" artifacts — the first of more than 30 such objects deliberately buried in about a foot of dirt.
Armed with notebooks, hand shovels and paintbrushes, some 50 students kneeled in the 30-by-5-foot plot of loosely compacted earth adjacent to Debra Muniz's sixth-grade classroom. The area had been gated off and painted with brightly colored "cave" art and faux warning signs to give the space the feel of a real dig site.
The two-day activity, which involved the students "searching for artifacts as an archeologist and then looking through the eyes of an anthropologist," was the final wrap-up activity for a year of study of ancient civilizations, Muniz said.
The students had studied China, Greece, Rome, India, Mesopotamia, Israel, and the Aztecs and Mayans.