"It's history, it's being outdoors, getting dirty. There is an element of science to it, a level of detail," said Cindy Wade, a senior at Plymouth State University.
The Shakers were a religious group practicing celibacy, pacifism, and communal living who settled in Enfield, New Hampshire, in 1793. They moved out of the area more than a century later, but they left a lot behind.
"So, I am standing in what we believe is the cellar of the Shakers trustees office. The trustees were the business leaders of the community. They conducted business transactions with the outside world," said Michael O'Conner, the curator of the Shaker Museum.
The archaeological dig aims to expose the foundation, which-- back in its heyday-- was one of 100 structures on a 3,000-acre property where the Shakers farmed, educated their children and worshipped. The museum that exists today and now this dig celebrate that past.
"I think archaeology helps bring out that story. It's not just a museum. It's a museum where some exciting research is going on right now," said David Starbuck, an anthropology professor at Plymouth State University.
Large holes have been dug at the corners of where the foundation is believed to be. With hand shovels and brushes, it is meticulously exposed. Along with the foundation, uncovered artifacts are being cataloged and preserved.
"From an architectural standpoint, from a religious history, from a communal studies standpoint-- yes, this site and this group are of great relevance to our society," O'Conner said.
And for students, it's a way to take their course work directly out into the field, connecting with history underfoot.
"Great to have the opportunity to uncover something that could lead to future visitors learning about this historic place," Wade said.
The dig will wrap up Friday, but plans are already in the works to begin again next year with the ultimate goal of possibly rebuilding the historic structure that's currently being unearthed for all to see.
Today there is only one active Shaker village which is located in Maine.