A Project Archaeology Sampler in Southeast Arizona

Arizona teachers observe modern artifacts in context and make inferences about the people who used them.

By Paulette LeBlanc

Paulette LeBlanc, Project Archaeology professional development instructor, introduced 14 Arizona teachers to archaeology education.  Short workshops at conferences effectively introduce teachers to archaeology in the classroom.

Each June, the Graham and Greenlee County School Superintendents host a 4-day teachers’ academy.  The event draws K-12 teachers from Southeast Arizona and includes up to 100 breakout sessions, mainly focusing on math, science and technology.  In our 2011 academy, we decided to draw attention to Project Archaeology by offering a 3-hour session, covering skills and activities of the first five lessons.  Of course the underlying goal was to wet their whistles and attract them to the remainder of the program.

Fourteen teachers ranging from kindergarten through high school attended the session hosted by Dan McGrew, BLM archaeologist, and Paulette LeBlanc, county staff development coordinator.  Evaluations document that it was very well received.  It was wonderful to read, “This was awesome!  I learned what a dig is and how it relates to different cultures.”  When asked about the most valuable lesson learned, one teacher wrote, “The sorting and classifying and making graphs to record information.  There is so much for students to learn from past cultures.” Best of all, comments such as, “I want to continue with the program. Wow!  I want to do this.  Can’t wait for the rest” are encouraging us to follow up with a weekend training in February, melding these summer attendees with newbies.

More to come from Southeast Arizona!


Beyond Activities: The Roles of Public Archaeology in the 21st Century

Maureen Malloy, Chesapeake Region Project Archaeology Coordinator, shares her views on public archaeology in the 21st Century.

As I sit down to finish this Project Archaeology blog entry the calendar says December, but the thermometer says spring –it’s 65 degrees this afternoon!  Washington DC has long, mild, beautiful autumns–when I worked as a field archaeologist it was always my favorite season.

I got my first opportunity to do public archaeology in 1983 when I was hired to supervise field and lab volunteers at a Late Woodland site in Virginia.  I didn’t have any training in public outreach, and–other than being a teaching assistant in grad school– I had never taught anyone or anything. But I immediately fell in love with the public part of my work and before I knew it I was showing high school students how to do surface surveys, bringing artifacts to elementary and middle schools all over the county, organizing family dig days, working with Scouts, and teaching adult education classes on local archaeology at the community college near the site.

Twenty-eight years later, as the Manager of Education and Outreach at the Society for American archaeology, and the Chesapeake regional coordinator for Project Archaeology, I am still doing public archaeology.  Although I no longer work in the field, yesterday I spent the day at a DC public elementary school.  Last week I talked to a group of Girl Scouts about careers in archaeology.  During the spring and summer I  participated in local archaeology festivals and an archaeology summer camp, and did teacher workshops. On the surface, the public archaeology I’m doing today might not look so different than what I was doing back then– but in reality it is quite different.

Thirty years ago public archaeology—for me, and many  of my colleagues –was pretty much limited to what I described above: classroom visits, site tours, working with volunteers in the field and lab, creating brochures or  interpretive panels, organizing the first Archaeology Month celebrations in our states. Important activities, to be sure—emphasis on the word activities. And our primary reason for climbing out of our caves, excavation units, and labs, into the glare of the public spotlight? As a profession we were driven primarily by our concern over the looting and destruction of archaeological sites. Our professional societies including SAA issued ethical mandates for doing and supporting public outreach and education, which was seen as, if not the answer, then an important part of the solution to archaeology’s most intractable problem.

Public archaeology has always had myriad definitions or meanings and they continue to evolve and grow with the field.  Thirty years ago it generally meant “government” or “CRM” archaeology. Much public archaeology then was driven by the explosion of CRM projects that followed the historic preservation legislation of the late 1970s, and a growing awareness that if public money was funding archaeology then there better be clear public benefits.  So we invited the public to help us on our sites and in our labs.  We presented our archaeological finds and research to local school kids, set up displays at the local library, or showed slides at the local Rotary Club meeting after the coffee was served. We were eager and enthusiastic to share our expert knowledge and expected the public to accept and respect it. We would convert everyone we spoke to – they would all become stewards of our endangered archaeological and historic resources.  The end result would be a public that came to understand and value archaeology and the need for preservation and protection of sites.  And to some extent I think this strategy was successful. The Harris poll commissioned by SAA, NPS and other archaeological organizations in 2000 found that most Americans support. But looting and destruction of sites continues at an alarming rate, and fueled by E-Bay and a host of complex social issues, the illegal sale of artifacts has skyrocketed. Archaeological programs are being gutted in many states and I think we can all agree that we are not going to see an expansion of support for archaeology and historic preservation at the federal level in the current economic and political climate.  We will be lucky if we can hang onto the existing protections for cultural resources.  Now more than ever we need the support of the public–our many publics.

Changes in the field of public archaeology over the past two decades have created opportunities for working with the public in deeper and more meaningful ways. These new approaches can help us create the kinds of alliances we need to preserve archaeological and historic sites.  Perhaps the most important change in the discipline is that communities now play a much bigger role in archaeology. Rather than simply the recipients of what professional archaeologists have learned, or the labor in our labs and excavation units, communities are actively engaging in all aspects of some archaeological projects. Projects may now be initiated and led by communities themselves, who invite us in to help. Public archaeology is now less of a one-way street designed by and for archaeologists to meet the needs of our discipline , and more of a shared endeavor to meet common goals. Although I find this an exciting and welcome change, I can’t say that all of my colleagues share this this view!

For me these changes in perspective and practice began when I read What this Awl Means: Feminist Archaeology at a Wahpeton Dakota Village by Janet Spector. By 1994 when I read this book, I was the head of the education department at an archaeological park. I was reading the scholarship on interpretation, education and museum practice. I attended the museum meetings and no longer the archaeology meetings  and my subscription to American Antiquity had lapsed.  Had I read Ian Hodder’s seminal 1991 AA article Interpretive Archaeology and Its Role sooner, I might have had my conversion experience a few years earlier!  But Spector’s book changed everything for me. My work was in prehistoric archaeology in the eastern US and until then I had never even considered working with a descendant community. I immediately changed the way I developed public programs at the museum, involving the communities near the museum, and overhauled the teacher –training I did. I no longer felt comfortable teaching about native peoples from just an archaeological perspective. My work became more about partnership and collaboration.

Since then I have become even more interested in how archaeology can inform and help solve contemporary problems. Although I continue to be alarmed over the looting and destruction of archaeological sites and I include a stewardship message in all of the public work I do, combatting this problem is no longer my raison d’etre for doing public archaeology.  So while I was in an elementary school classroom this week, it was as part of year-long program I am doing at the school, not a one-time show and tell visit with artifacts. I ‘m using Project Archaeology’s Investigating Shelter curriculum guide to help teach science and social studies, which has been cut from the 5th grade curriculum this year. The teacher I am working with wants me there, not for some special enrichment experience, but because she sees that archaeology can help teach the standards and help her kids pass the 5th grade assessment  they will take this spring.  The educators and administrators I meet with see the quality and potential of these PA materials  and are especially intrigued  by the cultural relevance aspect of the curriculum, since we live in such a multicultural environment.  The stewardship piece of Investigating Shelter is important  to me as an archaeologist, but frankly less  important to the teachers I work with. But it is a win-win situation for the discipline and the schools.

The changes I have experienced personally have been matched by developments in the discipline. Though communicating about archaeological research to the public remains an important part of public archaeological practice and an important ethical responsibility, education and outreach are now generally recognized as just one aspect—one set of practices—of the much broader field.  When the journal Public Archaeology was launched in 2000 it described itself as:

…the only international, peer- reviewed  journal to provide an arena for the growing debate surrounding archaeological and heritage issues as they relate to the wider world of politics, ethics, government, social questions, education, management, economics and philosophy. As a result the journal includes groundbreaking research and insightful analysis on topics ranging from ethnicity, indigenous archaeology and cultural tourism to archaeological policies, public involvement and the antiquities trade…   Key issues covered in the journal include: The sale of unprovenanced and frequently looted antiquities; The relationship between emerging modern nationalism and the profession of archaeology; privatization of the profession; human rights and, in particular, the rights of indigenous populations with respect to their sites and material relics; representation of archaeology in the media; the law on portable finds or treasure troves; archaeologist as an instrument of state power, or catalyst to local resistance to the state. http://www.maney.co.uk/index.php/journals/pua/

I believe that we will gain true public support for archaeology and historic preservation only when we can demonstrate how archaeology can be of use in the real world to our real publics.  When I leave work tonight I am headed to a meeting of my local watershed protection group. For a number of years now I’ve been concerned about how the belongings of the homeless are gathered as trash when we do our park clean-ups twice a year.  The organization sees the environmental problems caused by people living next to the creek. As an anthropologist I see people who, because they do not have permanent homes,  are not considered a part of our community. That has been bothering me for quite a while. So last week I had coffee with a grad student named Courtney  Singleton at the University of Maryland who has done pioneering work with Larry Zimmerman in Indiana on the archaeology of the homeless. Courtney  and I are now planning to do an archaeological survey of the homeless living in the park . I hope the data we gather will help change the policy of the environmental group, but I plan to share it with the County officials as well. I hope it will contribute to a better understanding better understanding of the homeless members of our community and lead to improved services.

In 1983 I might have been interested in doing an archaeological survey of the park to see what it can tell us about local pre/history, and then telling that story with slides in the community center. I would actually still like to do that, but what’s more important to me now is seeing how archaeology can be used as a tool to make a positive change in the community where I live.

Understanding Past and Present Cultures

Project Archaeology is excited to welcome Virginia Wulfkuhle to the blogging world! Virginia is a Public Archeologist at the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka and our Project Archaeology coordinator in Kansas.    

The examination of the earthlodge floor plan stimulated much discussion about Pawnee lifeways and beliefs.

This is my first blogging attempt, so please excuse any violations of conventions. We want to share some thoughts about Kansas’ teacher workshop, “Understanding Past and Present Cultures: Bringing Project Archaeology into the Classroom,” August 3-5, 2011. We chose to hold the workshop at Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas (ESSDACK), an educational service center in Hutchinson, Kansas, which provides staff development activities for educators. Our hope was that this south-central Kansas location would draw teachers from Wichita, Kansas’ largest metropolitan area. As it turned out, the workshop attracted teachers from all across the state as well—from Kansas City (extreme northeastern Kansas) to Beloit (north-central Kansas) to Garden City (far southwestern Kansas). We attribute this broad distribution to the fact that we disseminated the announcement directly to about 7,500 teachers by e-mail blast, using a list compiled by the Education/Outreach Division of the Kansas Historical Society. We originally accepted 24 participants, maintained a waiting list, and eventually ended up with the hoped-for 20 people.

The “we” in this article are four instructors, a luxury rarely enjoyed in the archaeology education business. I (Virginia Wulfkuhle) am Public Archeologist at the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka and Project Archaeology coordinator for Kansas; Nathan McAlister, history teacher at Royal Valley Middle School in Mayetta, was the 2010 National History Teacher of the Year and is an alumnus of the 2010 PA Leadership Academy; Brenda Culbertson is an astronomy educator and experienced amateur archaeologist; and Annette Roach, a teacher at Royal Valley Elementary School, recently returned from the 2011 Project Archaeology Leadership Academy, was an unexpected and welcomed member of the instructional team.

In Lesson Five sorting the contents of doohickey kits was a hit.

The first two days were devoted to Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter. We covered the overview, warm-up, all nine lessons, and the final performance of understanding. We used the Pawnee earthlodge investigation, based on 14RP1 in north-central Kansas. Favorite parts were the archeology tool kit lessons (four through seven) in general, use of historic photographs, the context game, family room and earthlodge footprints (many thanks to Gail Lundeen for letting me trace her groundcloths), and the final performance shelter dilemma.

Following the first three parts of Lesson Eight, we incorporated the expertise of Brenda Culbertson to present a segment on Pawnee archaeoastronomy. She brought an inflatable planetarium (do archaeologists ever travel light?), and we divided the group in half to fit the space. Considering the sweltering temperatures, this enhancement— instead of an outdoor activity—was a fortunate decision. We made a special effort to emphasize the stewardship message, and the teachers “got it.”

A picketer spontaneously interrupted at the City Council meeting.

The last day was spent on two Kansas-specific units, developed by the Kansas Historical Society: The Archaeology of Early Agriculture in Kansas: A Fifth Grade Integrated Reading Unit and Migration of the Pueblo People to El Cuartelejo: A Seventh Grade Integrated Reading Unit. Both units consist of a Student Magazine, Student Journal, and Teacher Guide (for more information, visit http://www.kshs.org/p/project-archaeology-in-kansas/15251.) Teams of participants were assigned to teach sections of each unit. It was interesting to see their contrasting teaching styles.

A group of five teachers came from Paola Middle School (east-central Kansas) because “our teaching team wants to integrate our Social Studies curriculum with all core subjects. We are currently implementing an archaeological dig as a hands-on learning experience.” While this gave me pause going into the workshop, my fears were allayed when I sat down with the group at the conclusion of the second day of class and reviewed their project. These teachers have invested a huge amount of effort in planning and executing their multidisciplinary undertaking. In addition to a controlled dig, the program incorporates a great deal of prior research conducted by the

McAlister guides teachers through part of Lesson Nine.

students, and, as a result of their participation in our workshop, I am confident that they will increase the lab processing, analysis, and reporting elements.

Here are some quotations from the evaluation forms:

“Loved that it is something I could immediately use in my classroom.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop! It was well-organized and I was provided with A LOT of useful ideas to use in my classroom.”

“Great ideas for teaching cross curricular standards.”

“It was more than I expected and [I] was very pleased and motivated to continue with this project.”

At the end of three days, our graduating class was still smiling.

Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter On-line—A skeptic’s journey to belief

Susan Dixon Renoe is an archaeology educator from Columbia, Missouri and is the Project Archaeology state coordinator for on-line workshops.

I have always enjoyed using Project Archaeology in my classroom.  However, I was a little skeptical when they told me there was an on-line course.  I thought how could someone learn about archaeology in front of a computer?  Worse yet, how could someone learn how to teach the curriculum if they haven’t been through a hands-on workshop? I have always believed that the best instruction happens face to face not interface to interface.  So when someone suggested that students in an on-line course receive more personal attention than students in a traditional classroom, I was not convinced.  Still, when they asked people to “sit in” on the course with an eye toward becoming instructors, I was intrigued.

Through my experience as both a student and an instructor, two things have pleasantly surprised me: first, it is possible for teachers to learn how to use the curriculum in their classrooms without sitting through the traditional two-day workshop; and second, participants do receive personal attention.  In a traditional classroom, learning is constrained by time and space.  Classes meet for a set period time in a set place, and often that space is used by multiple instructors for multiple classes.  It is not always possible for class discussion to continue past the hour.  However, in an on-line community, it is possible for the discussion to continue indefinitely.  Students are not as constrained by fear of rejection or embarrassment because they do not interact face to face; so they are more likely to participate.  They can think about their discussion posts before they enter them into the site, and posts can be entered at any time, so there is no pressure to respond immediately.

The instructor in an on-line course can answer personal emails and provide one-on-one feedback 24 hours a day.  He or she is only constrained by his or her own availability and interest.  This generally provides students with a more personalized educational experience.  The course is designed to get participants involved in an on-line community of scholars who are tackling problems and learning together.  The discussion questions encourage participants to share their experiences teaching the material with each other.  There are also several assignments that include uploading personal photos, which add to the sense of community.  This is important because participants come from geographically and culturally diverse areas.  For instance, this class session, I have a student from Canada and one from Florida.

One of the objections people have to taking the on-line course is that they are not sure about the technological side of things.  Never Fear!!!  The Project Archaeology staff has thought of everything, and they have the BEST technical support I have ever encountered.  Not only have they tested every aspect of the site for problems, they also provide almost 24-hour technical support.  Rarely do students have a problem using the course site, and, if they do, the staff is ready to get them back on track.

One of the benefits of the course is that people from all over have access to a wonderful curriculum without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.  Some participants may not be able to attend a traditional workshop because there are no facilitators in their area.  Another benefit is that information is disseminated quickly and efficiently.  In eight weeks, participants are ready to start using Project Archaeology: Investing Shelter in their own classrooms.  Teachers can elect to receive two hours of college credit for taking this class, so they can work on professional development credits during the school year and not just in the summer.

In this increasingly technological age, on-line classes seem to be the new educational frontier.  Most colleges and universities have on-line degree programs.  It only makes sense that other educational programs would follow suit.  Project Archaeology has created a curriculum relevant to diverse people and cultures.  They have found a way to marry cutting-edge technology with timeless information.  Still a skeptic?  Take it from a reformed skeptic, try the on-line course, and you’ll be a believer too!

Small confession (I just had to find a way to get their hands dirty): Last year, when I taught the course, several of the students were from my geographic area.  When a two-day summer workshop was held in our state, participants had the opportunity to extend their experience and participate in an excavation.  The workshop facilitator graciously agreed to let participants from the on-line course come to the excavation as well. 

If you would like to attend a Project Archaeology on-line course or would like more information, please follow this link. http://umnh.utah.edu/projectarchaeologycourse or contact Madlyn Runburg at (801) 585-6310.

Project Archaeology at the Nevada State Museum

We would like to welcome Deborah Stevenson as our next guest blogger. Deborah is Curator of Education at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, Nevada.

The Nevada State Museum in Carson City conducted four full days of Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter as part of our Fall Tour Volunteer Tour Guide Training, September 15-16 and 22-23, 2010.  Museum volunteer, Gail Omohundro, assisted me in planning and implementing the presentations.  Gail and I, both of whom had the privilege of attending Project Archaeology Leadership Academy in Bozeman, Montana on scholarships, were anxious to test out the curriculum.  We strategized that it would be wise to try out the lessons with our volunteers before launching into a full-scale teacher training program.

Barbara Dodgion making cordage

Native Nevadan, Barbara Dodgion, who has been volunteering at the museum for seven years, thoroughly enjoyed the new curriculum.  “The training is always wonderful,” she said, “but Project Archaeology was the best ever!”  Volunteer Susan Bunker-Niles added, “I loved the interaction and hands-on activities.  The program allowed me to bond with the other volunteers.  By working in small groups, I was able to learn interesting things about the family histories and backgrounds of the other guides—things I would never have known without Project Archaeology.  As a retired school teacher, I am excited about the opportunity to take this information into the classroom through our museum outreach program.”

Presentations by two Master Northern Paiute artists, Mike Williams and Marlin Thompson, brought everything together by highlighting the living connection with the prehistoric past.  Both demonstrations were funded in partnership with the Folklife Program of the Nevada Arts Council.

N. Paiute Master Artist, Marlin Thompson, showing baskets, cordage, and native plants to Pat Atkinson, Nevada Arts Council’s Folklife Coordinator, who attended the training.

We combined Mike Williams’ tule duck decoy demonstration with our children’s program, Wild and Wonderful Wetlands.  The wetland program is interdisciplinary, combining a study of the natural sciences (insects, birds, mammals, ecosystems) with anthropology, both prehistoric and historic.  Our tour guides worked directly with students from Bordewich-Bray Elementary to interpret the wetland portion of our Under One Sky Native American exhibit and to assist the kids in making miniature cattail ducks.  The kids were absolutely in awe of Williams’ commanding presence and depth of spirituality, as well as his exquisite skill in fashioning duck decoys out of tule (bulrush).

Volunteers Alyce Dickson and Ginger May examine a Paiute basket and learn Paiute words for “wickiup.”

Marlin Thompson, a singer, drummer, artist, and native plant use specialist, presented Traditional Paiute Arts on the final day of training.  His knowledge really augmented our discussions of Paiute winter shelters and artifacts associated with them.  Thompson asked us to use the N. Paiute word “nobii” for summer house and “kahnii” for winter house, rather than the more generic term “wickiup.”  He shared many Paiute words associated with hunting and gathering, including native words for medicinal plants and artifacts associated with hunting technologies.

Several months after the training, the museum had the opportunity to teach a segment of Project Archaeology, using the classification exercises and “do-hickey” kits, plus a map of a Paiute shelter in the Great Basin.  4th and 5th graders from Bordewich-Bray Elementary (our pet school because it is within walking distance) learned to love archaeology as a science rather than an Indiana Jones myth.  However, finding that the kids could not relate to the paper cut-outs of grinding stones, bifaces, etc., we now incorporate unprovenienced artifacts into the lessons, as we have always done with our Under One Sky tours.

We tested our revised methodology in Project Archaeology Revisited at the January 2011 Volunteer Tour Guide Training.  The photo below shows me getting ready to demonstrate the mano and metate while volunteers pass around a bag of projectile points. Our Curator of Anthropology, Dr. Gene Hattori, was also available to answer questions (right):

Deborah Stevenson demonstrating the mano and metate

Dr. Gene Hattori answering questions

Due to mandatory state budget restrictions, our museum staff members have been on part-time status for nearly two years and the museum is only open Wednesday – Saturday, instead of seven days a week. Nevertheless, we hope to work closely with BLM archaeologist, Bryan Hockett, to implement a teacher training program in Project Archaeology here at the Nevada State Museum by the summer of 2012.

If you would like more information on the upcoming Project Archaeology workshop in Nevada please contact Deborah Stevenson at DStevenson@nevadaculture.org. If you would like more information on the upcoming Project Archaeology Leadership Academy please contact Kathy Francisco at kfrancisco@montana.edu.

Archaeology Education at the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX

We are excited to welcome our first guest blogger, Sarah Mistak Caughron! Sarah is the Texas Project Archaeology Coordinator and Lead Educator of the Earth and Space Programs at the Museum of  Nature and Science in Dallas, TX.  Take it away Sarah…

Greetings from the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas!  As the first blog, I wasn’t quite sure what to write.  Since we have recently given a lot of discourse to badge programs and other such programs, I thought I would provide an update of what we have going on in the Big D!

It’s been a very busy year for us in terms of archaeology programming.  While we continue to offer school programs including Exploring the Past: The Archaeology of Texas and Moments in Time as our most popular school offerings for grades 3-6, we branched out this year to offer archaeology scouting programs.  As an archaeologist who chose museum education and public archaeology over CRM, it is incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to work with special groups such as the Boy and Girl Scouts.

Sarah Caughron teaching Boy Scouts how to throw an atlatl

On November 6, I was joined by 20 Boy Scouts as they earned their Archaeology Merit Badge.  It was an entire day’s work, but they boys enjoyed a range of activities including, spear throwing using an atlatl, pot making, artifact show-and-tell, and researching fascinating archaeology sites from around the world. I am happy to report that this was our first attempt in many years at offering such a program, and we had a waiting list of over 30 participants.  We have scheduled 2 more Boy Scout Archaeology Merit Badge workshops to be held on February 26 and March 5 – both are already full!

Not to be outdone, we received a call from an incredible Girl Scout mom, and we arranged our first-ever Girl Scout Native American Badge on December 10….with a twist….it was a museum sleepover!  58 girls filled our museum halls for what proved to be an amazing night! I worked through California Girl Scout badge protocol to develop a program for our Texas residents.  We had a great time learning about indigenous Texas tribes, participating in our version of a pow-wow, practicing Native American languages and games, exploring the night sky and Native American legends in our planetarium, and topping of the night sleeping among our life-like dioramas.

Girl Scout sleepover at the Museum

This year Dallas will host the Super Bowl.  The museum is hosting an event for the NFL called the One World Super Huddle, in which several area 5th grade classes that have engaged in pen pal style letter writing will come together at our museum on Monday, January 31, just days before kickoff to celebrate cultural diversity in the DFW area. (Did I mention that 4 NFL players are going to show up to join in on the fun?)  Students will experience African drumming and dance, Mexican Art, and Latin Music.  I am contributing a program about language – since language shapes culture.  I am adding an archaeology spin (of course!) and framing the program around the idea that North Texas has ALWAYS been a place rich in cultural diversity, and prehistoric/historic tribes spoke many different languages.  Students will be exposed to languages of the past and present to draw connections to the importance of language and culture.  I am still working out the details of the hands-on activity, but I am thinking of doing an activity where students can make something like a pot or effigy and decorate it with words that represent past and present languages and symbols.  (Any suggestions are welcome!)

Girl Scout sleepover event at the Museum

A final archaeology-themed event we are doing at the museum in the coming months is a program I created specifically for Dallas-area home school groups.  This is a constituency that museums often have trouble reaching, and we are designating a day just for home school groups and individuals on February 22.  I thought archaeology would be a perfect topic for such an event because it is an area that home school teachers might encounter some subject-matter inadequacies. Plus, as we all know, archaeology is typically a crowd-pleaser in addition to being a REALLY cool subject!  In conjunction with our National Engineers Week festivities, I thought it would be fun to explore the topic Ancient Technologies and Engineering.  Students will investigate the science and engineering behind the atlatl, ancient pyramids, and the Terra Cotta warriors just to name a few.

Sarah showing Boy Scouts how to excavate properly in a mock dig

In March, I am hoping to turn my attention to teachers and conduct a Project Archaeology teacher’s workshop at the Collin County Outdoor Nudge or GeoTech 2011.  I would also like to conduct some professional development workshops onsite at the museum in the late summer.

Thanks for reading. Please contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. I am looking to expand public archaeology in the DFW area, make a name for Project Archaeology in North Texas, and become an active member of our own PA network of creative and talented individuals.  Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Sarah Mistak Caughron, M.A., RPA

Museum of Nature and Science

P.O. Box 151469 – Dallas, Texas 75315




We’re off and running!

Welcome to the Project Archaeology blog! We are excited to dive into the world of blogging, and hope you will follow us on our journey. We have asked Project Archaeology Coordinators, Master Teachers, and other friends of Project Archaeology to contribute blogs on topics related to archaeology education. Our first guest blogger is Sarah Mistak Caughron from the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX. Stay tuned for her blog coming up later this month!