North Central College students to dig into Naperville Park District’s past

North Central College students participating in archaeology fieldwork
Donate Today

The Naperville Park District and North Central College (NCC) have combined forces to create an archaeology fieldwork program. An agreement was finalized at Thursday’s park board meeting.

The partnership benefits both, with NCC archeology students needing to complete fieldwork as part of their coursework, and the park district having plenty of land for the students to examine, to learn more about various sites within the district.

“(NCC students are) really looking at the history of the site, those that have been here prior to us, and how the particular park or area may have been used in the past by those who were in the area,” said Naperville Park District Executive Director Brad Wilson. 

Studies at Park District sites

Faculty at the college would conduct the coursework which would be held at excavation sites approved by the park district. An education coordinator designated by the college would work as a liaison between the two entities on the fieldwork. Anything unearthed by the students could help the district further understand the historical significance of park sites throughout Naperville. 

“For us to be able to learn more about the history and cultural aspects of some of the park sites not only benefits the students attending the program at North Central College, but it also benefits the community,” said Wilson.

Though the site list is still being finalized, Wilson said a portion of Knoch Knolls Park will be part of the studies.

When will the fieldwork begin?

Depending upon class enrollment, fieldwork for NCC students could begin as early as this spring. The agreement between the park district and NCC runs through 2024.

“At the end of that time frame, we could certainly revisit with (NCC) if it’s something we want to extend,” said Wilson. “So the fieldwork could take place at any time during the course of the term of the agreement.”

After fieldwork is completed, the college will help restore the sites that were used in the coursework, filling the dig locations back up. The park district will take care of any reseeding or grading of the areas, to restore them back to their original condition.

Anything found during the fieldwork will be examined by the students, and then returned to the park district after their research is complete.

If you have a story idea, we want to hear from you!