Archaeology Activities

Fossil Footprints

Participants will begin by viewing one-third of a picture containing two sets of animal fossil tracks. The participants must create a hypothesis based on the evidence seen. They must then modify this hypothesis as new evidence (the next two-thirds of the puzzle) is revealed. This is a great opportunity to discuss hypothesis creation and the difference between observation and inference. 

Source: Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science provided by the National Academy of Sciences. 

Shoebox Dig

Using a shoebox, sand, dirt and "artifacts" (beads, coins, popcorn, plastic animals, miniature plastic doll furniture/dishes), children can experience the excitement and procedure of unearthing an archeological site.

Source: Archaeological Institute of America Education Department. See full activity here

Trash Talks

​Students can use gloves to sort through simulated trash from several different locations (kitchen, home or commercial office, reception area, etc) and learn to sort the items, as well as hypothesize about the use of the room, the number of people living in or using the room, the time of year, the age of the people (etc), much as an archeologist considers items at a dig site. 

Source: Archaeological Institute of America Education Department. See full activity here

What Can We Learn From Artifacts? 

This activity provides a solid introduction to artifacts, the conclusions we can draw and the information we might learn from them. This discussion continues by asking children about their rooms and artifacts, and asks them to describe a particular one that says a great deal about them. Finally, several sample "artifacts" might be presented so children can practice making inferences from evidence presented. 

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science: Science NetLinks. See full activity here