Friday, July 26, 2013

Archaeology Quest 2

 We had a great second week of Archaeology camp here at the Museum! We started the week with some underwater archaeology. We did a demo to help us understand the layers of the past, where we stacked books to represent different layers of the ground and put pennies among the layers to represent artifacts, and how old they are in relation to the different layers. Then we did some underwater excavation. We used paintbrushes and straws to carefully dig up artifacts that were buried under layers of sand and water. Finally we looked at the effects of water on artifacts over time. We put a sponge, a piece of paper and a coin in water and studied how they changed after being in water for 24 hours. These objects represented types of materials typically found on a ship: metal, organic materials that absorb water, and paper from documents. It helped us to understand that artifacts found underwater may be rusted, ripped or disintegrated and this affects the archaeological process. We also made Borax crystals by letting pipe cleaners soak in a water and borax solution. We saw crystals form all along the pipe cleaner, showing us a similar process to what happens when metal soaks in salt water for many, many years.
Underwater excavation!
Soaking some materials in water to see what happens after 24 hours

Borax crystals

 On Tuesday,  we took our first of two trips to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. We saw a demonstration about Egypt, and learned all about the mummification process. We talked about what kinds of people or animals were mummified, what kind of materials and substances were used to dry out the body, and what kind of decorations the mummies were buried with. We even got to see some x-rays of mummies so we could understand what lies inside the wrappings. Then we took a tour of the galleries and saw some cool ancient Egyptian artifacts, including a very well-preserved coffin and even the mummy of a child! After our tour we came back to one of the classrooms and made Egyptian headdresses and crowns that we got to take home!

Looking at an ancient coffin at the Kelsey Museum

Looking at mummy artifacts

The headdresses we made!

On Wednesday we talked more about Egypt. We talked more about mummies and learned about the excavation of King Tut, and why it was so important in the archaeology world. We made Egyptian pyramids and even got to make clay sarcophagi and other treasures to put inside. Then we learned about hieroglyphics and got to write hieroglyphic messages on papyrus sheets. They got to take both of these home- so make sure you ask to see them!
Making pyramids


Making a mummy to put in the pyramid

 On Thursday we returned to the Kelsey Museum for some activities about the ancient Olympic games and other ancient toys. First we got a demonstration about the Olympics and what kind of sports were played at them. We saw a model discus and javelin, and learned that the winners didn't get medals like they do today- they just got a wreath of olive leaves and fame! We also learned that all ancient athletes competed without clothes on- which the kids thought was hilarious. Then we got to see some non-Olympic toys that children (or adults!) of ancient civilizations would have played with, like dolls, spinning tops, and rolling horse carriages. We got to play a game of knucklebones, too! Then we each got to make some cool arm bands to wear!
Looking at Olympic artifacts!

Watching a demonstration of a spinning top

Playing knucklebones!

Playing with toys

Playing with a spinning top

Making our wristbands

We ended the week with an archaeology dig.We had to grid and map the site in our journals, and collect the artifacts to analyze. We had to use our knowledge to figure out what type of setting the artifacts came from and what kind of activities or civilizations they portrayed. We also got to look around the museum for the oldest and newest object in the museum! Finally, we got to pretend we were archaeologists 1,000 years in the future, looking at artifacts from today. We had to come up with some pretty creative ideas to figure out what the obscure objects could have been used for!!
Making the grid at the archaeology grid site

Looking at some artifacts as if we were future archaeologists!

We had a very fun week at camp and can't wait for our next theme: Ecology!!! We hope to see some old faces next week as we explore ecosystems, habitats and more!

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