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CHAPTER IV

 

 

YOU AND

ARCHAEOLOGY

 

 

 

HOME AND CLASSROOM PROJECTS

 

PURPOSE

 

What can students do to further their interest in archaeology, and even make a direct contribution? Chapter IV presents some interesting projects, gives information on sites to visit, and shows how to report a site that a student might find. Archaeology is one of the few sciences that allows an average citizen to contribute directly in furthering knowledge. This is especially challenging when we consider that archaeological remains are a non‑renewable and irreplaceable resource.

 

CONCEPTS AND INTERPRETATIONS

 

The subject matter of archaeology is all around us. It stands on the ground, and lies buried beneath it. It sits on the shelves of hundreds of collectors and hobbyists. And we find it on the tables of "flea markets" and in the windows of antique stores. In context, archaeological remains have a rich and important story to tell; out of context, they are little more than curious objects. By context we mean the original location‑‑the site‑‑where soil conditions, associated materials, stratigraphic position, and other information can be determined. When artifacts are removed from their context they become like pieces of a rare document that has been ripped apart (separate, the pieces have little meaning, whereas together, they make up sentences, paragraphs, and pages of an important body of information).

 

Only a trained, professional archaeologist should remove archaeological remains from a site. Thus, although it would be inappropriate for a student, or a class, to attempt an excavation, there are important contributions that young people can make to archaeology. For example, instructions are given in Chapter IV for reporting a site that a student might find or hear about. Once the teacher is certain the site is authentic, a form like the one illustrated on text page 102 (a blank copy is provided in this Handbook), should be filled out with as much detail as possible. Then, the form should be mailed to the nearest archaeologist, using the list provided on text page 103.

 

As noted in the text, there are not as many archaeologists in Georgia as some other states and their works keeps them very busy. The class may have to wait several weeks for a reply to their site report, but they should remain confident that the information will be recognized and appreciated. The site will be entered in a computer at the University of Georgia, where it can be easily retrieved in the future. In some cases, the archaeologist or an assistant may want to visit the site.

 

By reporting a site, the student will have contributed to the preservation of knowledge. Just think, this report might be the only record of a site, a record that would be invaluable if the site were threatened at a later date. For example, if a highway or shopping center were planned for the area of that site, the student's report would give archaeologists information to aid in planning for proper mitigation prior to construction.

 

Students will find that many artifacts have been removed from sites in their area. Some of these artifacts will have been taken out of state but others may still be found in the homes of local private collectors. If your students should find such a collection have them explore the origin of the collection. Identify the items by site if possible, and fill out a site form for each site, or if that is not possible, identify the objects by stream drainage or county. The more precise the location, the better. Other important information would include the date the artifact(s) was found (again, be as exact as possible), name of the finder, how many people have owned the item(s) before the present owner, and whether the owner would be willing to donate the artifact(s) to a museum or educational institution. Record any information, no matter how trivial it may seem at the time. A tape recorder comes in very handy on this project, since it is difficult to write down or remember everything that is said in an interview.

 

One project in Chapter IV consists of a study of the useful wild plants in a student's home area. As part of this project, the student should attempt to determine which plants are native to the area and which ones are Old World imports. There are several good books that describe medicines that are made from wild plants, etc. Students might also interview elderly people and farmers who are usually more knowledgeable about traditional usages of wild plants. Similar studies could be made of local mineral resources or wild animals.

 

Other projects involve the analysis of modern material culture, such as the excavation of the trash can in the classroom or at the student's home. Although it may be a little messy, this project can provide an excellent illustration of the relationships between human behavior and the material by‑products of that behavior. Most of the objects found on real archaeological sites were "garbage," i.e., they were cast aside because they were broken or had fulfilled their usefulness. In such a project as this, the student should be encouraged to make careful observations through notes and measurements. For example, the measured depth of various items in the trash can might reveal the sequence of activities in the classroom (or at home) during the day (or days) that the garbage represents.

 

The last project in Chapter IV (text pages 104‑107), consists of the construction and excavation of a "stratigraphic box." (There is an error in Step 7, page 105, where the blue layer and the black laver are reversed. In the Picture, you will notice that the black laver is on top whereas in the instructions of Step 7, the black laver is next to the top). The teacher may wish to construct the box ahead of time, or let the students participate in the construction as well as the excavation. In a large class, the teacher should divide the students into several groups, each of which constructs and excavates its own box. Again, careful observation and detailed notes are essential to the success of this project. Follow the instructions step‑by‑step.

 

Text pages 108 and 109 give important information on the locations of archaeological sites in Georgia that are open to the public. Many of these sites have interpretive exhibits, and a few even have demonstrations on prehistoric stone‑working techniques, use of the spear thrower, etc. given by their staff. Some of these sites are national parks, whereas others are state owned, but each has something unique to offer the individual student or the entire class. Visits to any one of these parks makes an excellent field trip for your class if any are within driving distance of your location (be sure to notify the superintendent of your intended visit). Russell Cave in Alabama (close to most of northwest Georgia), and Etowah, Rock Eagle, Ocmulgee, and Kolomoki in Georgia are best known for their prehistoric remains. New Echota and Fort Frederica belong to the Historic Period. Other sites, not known especially for archaeology but which are of historical interest, and well worth a field trip, are Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield near Marietta; Fort Pulaski, Fort McAllister, Fort Morris‑Sunbury, Midway Colonial Museum, and Fort Jackson, all near Savannah; Jarrett Manor near Toccoa; Fort King George near Darien; MacKay House in Augusta; Vann House near Chatsworth; Andersonville National Cemetery near Americus; and the Washington‑Wilkes Historical Museum at Washington.

 

Chapter IV ends with a couple of very important reminders. The information archaeology has to offer is valuable to all of us. It tells us about the development of individual cultures and of mankind as a whole. If we ever hope to understand why we exist the way we do today‑‑and especially if we want to proceed into the future with planning and direction‑‑we must utilize the lessons of the past.

 

In archaeology there are many questions left unanswered. This is as true in Georgia as it is in Mexico, Egypt, or other parts of the world. Although we have learned much from our research over the past several decades, more work is needed. There is also a strong element of urgency, since archaeological resources are being lost at an everincreasing rate.

 

Can we save the archaeological resources, so that we may benefit from their lessons? The answer is "yes," but only if we all work together. We must urge our legislators to strengthen the laws that are designed to protect archaeological and historic sites, we must discourage digging on sites by untrained individuals, and we must assist archaeologists in recording and protecting remains in our home areas. If we all work together, we can meet this exciting challenge.


                Many important sites have been discovered and first reported by people who were not professional archaeologists.  Fort this reason, we have listed some of the universities and museums where you can report sites and collections.

 

Universities and Museums with Archaeologists

 

Columbus Museum

Columbus, Georgia 31906

(706) 649-0713

Division of Arts and Sciences

Thomas University

Thomasville, Georgia 31792

(229) 226-1621

 

Department of Anthropology

Georgia State University

Atlanta, Georgia 30303

(404) 651-3232

 

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Georgia Southern University

Statesboro, Georgia 30460

(912) 681-5443

Department of History and Anthropology

Augusta State University

Augusta, Georgia 30904

(706) 737-1709

Laboratory of Archaeology

Department of Anthropology

University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia 30602

(706) 542-3922

Laboratory of Archaeology

Department of Anthropology

State University of West Georgia

Carrollton, Georgia 30118

(770) 836-6455

 

Department of Sociology and Anthroplogy

Valdosta State University

Valdosta, Georgia 31698

(229) 333-5490

 

 

Sources for More Information on Archaeology in Georgia

 

Office of the State Archaeologist

Historic Preservation Division

Atlanta, Georgia 30303

(404) 656-2840

Society for Georgia Archaeology

P.O. Box 693

Athens, Georgia 30603

(678) 287-5814

 

 

 

 

 


 CHALLENGER (A Stratigraphic Puzzle)

 

Doug was walking in a field one day and came upon an area that had a large number of artifacts lying on the ground. Naturally, he was very excited. He ran all the way home and filled out a site report form that he copied from page 102 of the textbook. Later, an archaeologist came there and examined a dirt bank next to the field where Doug had found all his artifacts. The archaeologist identified five different strata.

 

Below are the 62 artifacts Doug found when he discovered the site, using the artifacts assign each of the 5 strata to a period (Archaic, Historic, etc.) and write in the artifacts that belong in each level. Use the drawing on the following page to write in your answers.

 

1 1920 ten‑cent piece 1 Palmer point 4 grooved axes 9 Morrow Mountain points 6 tiny triangular arrow points 1 copper pan pipe 2 Kirk points 1 hubcap from a 1934 auto 3 spear thrower weights 10 Mississippian pottery sherds 2 Clovis points 1 rattlesnake gorget 21 brass tradebells.

 


Resource Materials

 

Archaeology

Adventures in Fugawiland!  A Computer Simulation in Archaeology by Doug Price and Gitte Gebauer.  1990, Mayfield Publishing Co., Mountain View, CA.   ISBN:  0-87484-948-9   Computer simulated dig with excellent accompanying book.  The 1993 computer disk is outdated, but the company may have a more recent version.  H

 

Archaeology Merit Badge Book.  1997, Boy Scouts of America, Irving, Texas.  No ISBN no.  Can be ordered by phone 1-800-323-0732.  While this booklet is geared at Boy Scouts working on their archaeology merit badge, it contains some good background information about archaeology.  M, H

 

Archaeologists Dig for Clues by Kate Duke.  1997, Harper Collins, New York, NY.  ISBN:  0-06-445175-5 Excellent, lively book about archaeology for elementary grades.  E

 

Clues to America’s Past by Jeffrey P. Brain et al.  1976, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.  ISBN:  None.  Various chapters examining America through archaeology, with numerous color photographs.  M, H

 

Digging into Archaeology-Hands-On, Minds-On Unit Study by Julie Coan.  1999 Critical Thinking Books & Software, Pacific Grove, CA.  ISBN:  0-89455-718-1     Very good activities using a variety of skills and subjects.  E, M, H

 

Discovering Archaeology, An Activity Guide for Educators by Shirely J. Schermer.  1992, Office of the State Archaeologist, Iowa City, Iowa.  ISBN:  0-87414-087-0     Various activities aimed at 5-8th grades, but suitable for high school also.  M,H

 

Diving to the Past, Recovering Ancient Wrecks by W. John Hackwell.   1988, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, NY. ISBN:  0-684-18918-6  Educational look at underwater archaeology. M, H

 

Exploring Prehistoric Alabama Through Archeology by Christine Adcock Wimberly.  1980, Explorer Books, Birmingham.  ISBN: 0-9605938-3-7  Similar in style to Georgia’s version, it details prehistory in the southeastern United States.  M, H

 

Frontiers in the Soil:  The Archaeology of Georgia by Roy Dickens.  1979, Currently out of print.  Soon to be reprinted by The Society for Georgia Archaeology.  Excellent, accurate, cartoon-style book about archaeology and prehistory.  E, M, H

 

History Beneath the Sea, Teaching Module 1 edited by K.C. Smith and Amy Douglass.  2001, The Society for American Archaeology, Washington, D.C. ISBN:  0-932839-17-7   Can be ordered through the SAA web site (see below).This 28 page booklet is a teaching module about underwater archaeology.  M, H 

 

I Can Be An Archaeologist by Robert B. Pickering.  1987, Childrens Press, Chicago.  ISBN:  0-516-41909-9   Numerous photographs illustrate this text about archaeology.  E

 

The Magic School Bus Shows and Tells-A Book About Archaeology by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen.  1997, Scholastic, New York, NY.  ISBN:  0-590-92242-4            Entertaining look at archaeology based on the popular Magic School Bus series.  E

 

Mythology, Archeology, Architecture by Diane Sylvester and Mary Wiemann.  1982, The Learning Works, Santa Barbara, CA.  ISBN:  0-88160-081-4            One third of the book has good, general archaeology activities.  E, M

 

Rubbish!  The Archaeology of Garbage by William Rathje and Cullen Murphy.  1992, Harper Collins, New York, NY.  ISBN:  0-06-092228-1            Fascinating look at archaeological study of a culture’s artifacts using our recent artifacts/garbage.  H

 

Teaching Archaeology, A Sampler for Grades 3 to 12 by Joan Few et al.  1995 (second edition), The Society for American Archaeology, Harvest Printing, Tallahassee, FL.  No ISBN no., but can be purchased from SAA web page (see below).  Contains several lesson plans. E, M, H

 

The Usborne Young Scientist Archaeology by Barbara Cork and Struan Reid.  1991 (reprint), EDC Publishing, Tulsa, OK.  ISBN:  0-86020-865-6   Colorfully illustrated study of archaeology and scientific techniques using classical sites; numerous text encourages reading. M, H

 

Used Archaeology:  Practical Classroom Ideas for Teachers, By Teachers by Rita Folse Elliott.  1992, The Society for Georgia Archaeology, Early Georgia Vol. 20, No. 1, Athens, GA.  No ISBN no., but available for free download on SGA web page (www.georgia-archaeology.org/sga). Contains hands-on, multidisciplinary archaeology activities for teachers.  E, M, H

 

Native Americans and/or Prehistory

An Educational Coloring Book of Southeast Indians edited by Linda Spizzirri.  1985, Spizzirri Publishing, Rapid City, SD.  ISBN:  0-86545-065-X Detailed coloring book with annotated text detailing southeastern tribes.  E

 

Native Americans-Interdisciplinary Thematic Unit by Mari Lu Robbins.  1994, Teacher Created Materials,  Huntington Beach, CA.  ISBN:  1-55734-607-0      This book includes southeastern Indians as well as others in America and has excellent reading and math activities.  M

 

Native Americans-Whole Language Theme Unit, Grades 3-4 by Lisa Miller Molengraft.  1993, Instructional Fair, Grand Rapids, MI.  ISBN:  1-56822-015-4            Native American activity book that includes Georgia’s Eastern Woodland Indians.  E

 

Prehistoric Animals-How and Why Activity Wonder Books by Helene Chirinian.  1989, Price Stern Sloan, Los Angeles, CA.  ISBN: 0-8431-4297-9 Annotated activity book that includes animals during early man period.  E

 

The Story of the Cherokee People by Tom B. Underwood. 1961 (reprinted 1990), Cherokee Publications, Cherokee, NC.  ISBN: 0-935741-01-1            Story of Cherokee life.  E*, M, H

 

Other Topics

Anthro Notes, Museum of Natural History Publication for Educators.  Published by the Smithsonian Institution.  Published three times a year, Free of charge.  On the web at http://www.nmnh.si.edu/departments/anthro.html or  subscribe through Anthropology Outreach Office, NHB 363 MRC 112, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC  20560. Articles and lesson plans about anthropology and archaeology.

 

Beginning Map Skills by John and Patty Carratello.  1990, Teacher Created Materials, Huntington Beach, CA.  ISBN:  1-55734-167-2  Excellent activities - map making, geography, and the natural and cultural environment.  E

 

Fort Mose, Colonial America’s Black Fortress of Freedom by Kathleen Deagan and Darcie MacMahon.  1995, University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL.  ISBN:  0-8130-1352-6  Excellent book using color photographs, historic documents, and archaeology to tell the story of free colonial African Americans in Florida.  M, H

 

Magazines

Archaeology published by the Archaeological Institute of America.  ISSN:  0003-8113  Bi-monthly.  Subscribe  1-800-829-5122 Insightful articles & photography for the general public. H

 

Archaeology’s Dig published by Archaeological Institute of America. ISSN:  1524-4458  Bi-monthly. Subscribe 1-877-673-7344 or subscription@archaeology.org   Excellent colorful, informative  archaeology magazine for children that comes with a parents’ guide supplement.  E, M

 

American Archaeology published by The Archaeological Conservancy.  ISSN: 1093-8400  Quarterly.  Subscribe through membership in The Archaeological Conservancy  (505) 266-1540  Insightful articles and photography about archaeology for the general public. H

 

 

E=Elementary School age; M=Middle School age; H=High School age; *with assistance from teacher/or read by teacher to students