Backyard Archaeology


Today's Snack: Put about six ounces of strawberry yogurt into a container that you can't see through. Hide six whole strawberries, tops removed, in the yogurt. Now eat the yogurt with a spoon, uncovering each strawberry as you encounter it. Eat the strawberries, too, but remember, in archaeology, when you uncover something, you don't eat it - you study it!







Five or six old clay flower pots


Markers or tempera paint and brush


Large paper bag




Old newspapers


Craft glue



"Archaeology" is the study of ancient people by finding, reassembling and studying the things they left behind: artifacts, monuments, written documents and so forth.


One of the most useful items for learning how people ate, what cultural influences they came under, and how long ago they lived, is to examine their pottery. That's what they kept food and water in, so pottery was extremely important to survival, and pots are almost always found in an excavated site - a place where people used to live long, long ago that is now being dug up and studied by archaeologists.


It is very difficult to reconstruct pottery at an archaeological site, though. The centuries often damage and break pottery, and various factors move the pieces and shards of the pots all over the place. It takes patience and skill to put each pot back together.


Do you have what it takes to be an archaeologist? Let's see!


First, get together five or six old clay flower pots and decorate them on the outside with either magic marker or paint. Try to make each design distinctive. Use particular patterns and colors.


Now, place all the pots into a large paper bag and close the top.


With a hammer, gently bang on the bag, and break the pots inside the bag into pieces. It's not often you break something on purpose, is it?


Next, shake the bag several times and dump out half the pieces onto a table or counter protected with a thick layer of newspaper so the pot shards, or pieces, don't scratch.


Finally, using white glue, try to reassemble as many of the original pots as you can.


Have fun writing a story about the "people" who you imagine might have used those pots! Name their tribe or group, describe the place in which they lived, and tell a few details about their culture. Try to make their culture as different as you possibly can from the way we live today! And make up a wacky way that they use those pots. Have fun!


By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Miscellaneous 01 2009




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