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Objective: To give students practice in the skills of observation, discrimination, mapping, creating a grid, classification, and the selection of appropriate procedures all used in the excavation of an archaeology site.

Subject area connections: mathematics, science, language arts, art, and social studies

Teacher Background
:
Archaeologists have been called detectives of history. Often they are looking for clues to find out who or what lived in an area, when they lived there, what they did there, and why they are no longer there. Detectives sometimes find written clues or witnesses who provide them with information while archaeologists must rely only on what has been left behind.

Although archaeologists play a leading role in organizing and excavating a site, they are also assisted by teams made of geologists (to provide information about the earth at different time periods), botanists (to identify possible plant species), zoologists (to identify possible animal species), chemists and physicists (to figure out the age of objects, how they were made, and what they are made of), petrologists and mineralogist (to indentify materials, weapons and tools), surveyors (to mark and grid the site), artists and photographers (to visually record the findings) and historians (to interpret and record findings).

To help students understand both the process and the application of various skills used to excavate archaeology sites in parts of Africa as well as around the world, five activities will be explored including:

Locating a possible site
Surveying the site
Uncovering the horizonal and vertical layers
Identifying and dating the artifacts
Interpreting the evidence

These steps will be conducted inside the classroom but can also be extended by creating a site on the school grounds or at home. Details of each of the activities, accompanying work sheets, journal suggestions, assessment choices, as well as additional websites and resources follow.
  

 
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