Friday, July 18, 2014

Archaeology Quest 1

Checking out a real atlatl
Monday camp started with some basics of archaeology!  We learned what archaeologists do and what they study.  We had a real archaeologist come in and give a presentation first thing.  She showed us lots of cool artifacts and told us about her job here at the museum.  Then, we started on some archaeological endeavors of our own! We investigated an archaic campsite, getting to sift through soil to find the artifacts and bones left behind.  We then sorted them into a large matrix and organized them the way real archaeologists would.  We also learned about mastodons and the ancient humans that hunted them and got to make our own atlatls (an ancient spear throwing device).  We also put together pottery puzzles and tried to decipher the meaning behind their designs like the bowls and pottery of certain Native American tribes.  We even investigated some replica objects of ones found at the Historic Burnham House here on campus.  We studied how archaeologist label where they found their artifacts and then made inferences about the lives of the people who used them based on placement.

Sifting through the soil for artifacts

Getting our hands a little dirty

Tuesday, was our first trip to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology!  We took a tour of the museum's exhibit on Egypt and got to ask lots of questions.  Then, we learned all about mummification.  We were able to go through the entire process of how the Egyptians prepared their mummies and learned about the significance of each process or artifact entombed with them.
Sacred scarab beetles that were placed over a mummy's heart

Djehutymose's coffin

Wednesday, campers learned even more about ancient Egypt.  Counselors gave a presentation on King Tutankhamen and the significance of the pyramid to the ancient Egyptians.  We then got an up close at the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx online and drew our own interpretations of these colossal architectural feats.  We also got to make our own steles (pronounced stee-lays), or ancient Egyptians version of a tombstone.  They are often found at the entrance of tombs and are covered in hieroglyphs talking about the person entombed there.  We played several games that taught us about Egyptian culture and we tested our memory from Tuesday by virtually embalming a mummy.

Drawing the Sphynx

Making a stele

Egyptian pull toys
Thursday, we took another trip to the Kelsey Museum of  Archaeology!  This time we learned about ancient toys and games and compared objects in both the ancient and modern worlds.  We had lots of fun playing board games from ancient civilizations like Egypt, Rome, and Mesopotamia.  Did you know kids in ancient cultures had yo-yos, noisemakers, dolls, rattles, and tops very similar to ours?  We went on a scavenger hunt in the exhibit gallery to find ancient objects and their modern counterparts, as well.

Example of and ancient doll made with fabric scraps

Friday, we learned about ancient art and forms of communication.  We had a presentation on petroglpyhs and pictographs in the morning where campers learned the difference between the two and the importance of storytelling through pictures.  Then we tried to unravel an ancient mystery by interpreting a a series of pictographs (ask your camper about what it represented).  We created our own stories and the paint with which to tell them by grinding reddish stones and mixing the powder with water and painting pictographs onto paper "rock walls".  Campers even got to create their own ancient art by designing a necklace with symbols that were important to them.  All in all, a super week with some super campers!

Practicing pictograms 

Making our medallions

Creating our own rock art

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