Classroom Resources in Archaeology

bikeThis past weekend I helped staff the exhibit table of the Archaeology Education Clearinghouse at the National Council for Social Studies conference in St. Louis.  Most attendees were middle through high school teachers.  Although light on the gadgets and wizardry often used at such events, our exhibit saw a consistent flow of interested teachers.  The “I Dig Archaeology” buttons, CD of lesson plans, topical and age-graded handouts of internet resources were well received by the participants.

Some of my most engaging conversations were with teachers who, independent of any contact with the professional archaeological community, were bringing the discipline into the classroom.  For example, drawing on field schools from their undergraduate days, two teachers talk about how they had gotten their respective principles to allow them to dig up part of the school yard and create mock excavations.  Contrary to the horror stories archaeologists often tell about such activities turning into treasure hunts to find cool stuff, the processes included the careful excavation, mapping, and interpretation of recovered cultural materials, like the experience posted about last year from Harding University.

With that in mind, I wanted to post links to some of my favorite online resources for bringing archaeology and cultural heritage into the k-12 classroom:

  • In 2013, one of the most vibrant and engaged public archaeological outreach programs belongs to the Florida Public Archaeology Network.  The resource page on their website is loaded with classroom based lesson plans and activities.  The 2011 Beyond Artifacts contains over 120 pages of classroom activities and lesson plans both on archaeology in general and specific to Florida.
  • The Society for American Archaeology hosts an Archaeology for the Public webpage with some 300 or so resource links.  One of my favorites is ArchaeologyLand that contains a set of activities that can be used as individual lessons in the classroom or as a suite of offerings in a fair-like setting.
  • The Archaeological Institute of America provides lesson plans that focus on the classical sites and archaeological methods.  These offerings are often quite in-depth and utilize video and other internet instructional resources.
  • Project Archaeology offers leadership training and a set of programs tied to curriculum standards.  For example, their Investigating Shelter volume ” . . . consists of nine comprehensive lessons guiding students through the archaeological study of shelter including a toolkit of archaeological and scientific concepts . . .”

The above resources are outstanding examples of bringing the discipline of archaeology into the classroom.

What are your favorite classroom resources?

  2 comments for “Classroom Resources in Archaeology

  1. Jamie
    November 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I’m currently at Northern Arizona University getting my Masters in Applied Archaeology and focusing on Pubic Education. I’m actually writing my thesis on bringing archaeology into the K-12 classroom and creating an archaeological lesson plan that will be featured on the American Southwest Virtual Museum (, check it out if you get a chance!

    • November 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      Very interesting website. Thanks so much for the link and I look forward to hearing more about your thesis work.

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