Magazine article Technology and Children

"We're Diggin It": Setting Up Your Own Archeological Dig for the Classroom

Magazine article Technology and Children

"We're Diggin It": Setting Up Your Own Archeological Dig for the Classroom

Article excerpt

Getting Started

Before you begin your expedition, you should first identify the purpose of the archeological dig. What connections are you trying to make and what do you want your students to do with the artifacts they might find? (See Resources in this issue for some ideas.) The scale of your activity could be as large as participating in a real archeological dig to holding your own dig in an inflatable or plastic swimming pool in the corner of your classroom. Our dig was set up by using stakes and string to make a 4'x4' square in a sand box.


The artifacts you place in the dig should vary depending on the purpose of the activity and civilization you want to explore. Before our dig began, we buried artifacts from numerous cultures and from numerous time periods, including the Anazazi Indians, Romans, and Egyptians. The artifacts we buried included:

1. Small Pot--representing food storage, transportation of water, cooking, etc.

2. Sharpened Flint--food preparation, tools, warfare, hunting, survival, etc.

3. Burned Wood--fire, food preparation, survival, etc.

4. Adobe Brick--shelter, culture, stability, etc.

5. Roman Coin--commerce, materials processing, geology, etc.

6. Roman Ring--social class, adornment, political structure, etc.

7. Egyptian Scarab--writing, communication, etc.

I recommend making connections with a history buff in your community or a parent who has traveled and invite them to assist you in preparing the site

Tools of the Trade

The book, Archaeologists Dig for Clues by Kate Duke, includes some simple ideas for things you can use for tools--like milk jugs to create a scoop, a bicycle pump to blow dirt off of the articles being uncovered, and picks made of small sticks. I used cheap buckets, shovels, strainers, and paint brushes obtained from the dollar store. These proved to be excellent. (Note: You need several strainers or one large one because this can be a bottleneck in the process.) You will also want fine-point permanent pens for labeling the artifacts and several clipboards for the teams to draw their maps and record information concerning the exact location and description of artifacts. …

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