Saturday, July 26, 2014

Archaeology Quest 2

First coins used by Lydians
We started off our second week of Archaeology camp with learning about Ancient Civilizations. We talked about the Lydians who are thought to have developed the first coin system.  Campers got to make their own coins that represented something about them. Then we learned about the Mayans and their number system.  The Mayans used lines, dots and and mysterious-looking pictures to represent numbers.  Campers learned how to decipher the some Mayan math problems. Last, we talked about the Aztecs and how they wrote stories using pictures.  The Aztecs recorded their history on pictograph manuscripts called codices.  Campers made their own stories by drawing pictures.

On Tuesday, campers went to the University of Michigan Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and learned about Greek Mythology.  They got a myth based tour of the galleries at the Museum. They then listened to some myths and designed their own Greek pot based on one a myth they heard or made up themselves.

Our Edmund Fitzgerald Shipwreck Site
Wednesday was all about underwater archaeology. Campers learned about the shipwreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior by investigating the wreck site.  They had to communicate using scuba diving hand signals with each other since you cannot talk to your partner underwater.  Then worked on mapping and surveying the shipwreck site and documenting the artifacts found there.  They also talked about the parts of a boat and then had to design a boat that would float, hold weight and move.  They only had a limited amount of supplies for their boats. We learned that shipwrecks are important to our understanding of ancient boat building technologies and archaeologists can learn about human activities from shipwreck sites. Campers were also able to practice their skills of mapping out a potential archaeological site.  Archaeologists grid a site usually in 1 meter squares and campers had to grid out a site and mark where they found artifacts.

Our boat designs

A boat design

Testing their boat designs


Testing the boats

Testing the boats

Thursday, we went to the U-M Kelsey Museum of Archaeology again. Campers got to participate in an archaeology dig.  There were digs for different places:  Rome, Greece, Egypt and Mesopotamia.  Then campers had to tag the artifacts they found and tried to identify what it was.

Excavating the site

One of the artifacts found at the site

On Friday, campers learned more about being an archaeologist.  They took a short quiz to see if they really knew what archaeologists did.  Take the quiz and see how well you do!
Do archaeologists look for dinosaur fossils?  Ask your child!

Campers "read" the landscape on campus to imagine how people may have used the landscape in the past.  Reading a landscape helps archaeologists imagine the lives of past peoples.  Campers participated in "trash can digs" (clean trash only)  to learn about people today in the same way archaeologists use ancient garbage as evidence for people's lives in the past. We dug through three garbage cans and discovered one was from a kitchen, one was from an office and the other one was from a bathroom.  We also made observations and examined some artifacts and recorded as much information about it.  We then tried to determine what it was. We ended our week with an obstacle course relay race with Archaeology questions.  Campers had to complete the obstacle course and choose a word from the word bank.  They then had to determine which question that word answered and put it in the crossword puzzle.  The first group to complete their crossword puzzle won.  It was a great week and we had a great time learning

And they are off!
Part of the Obstacle Course

Obstacle Course

More of the Obstacle Course

Trying to find the question that their word answers


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