Friday, July 24, 2015

I Dig Archaeology

Looking at quizzes

Monday, our campers learned about the scientists who study ancient people.  That's right, it was all about archaeologists!  With our "Draw a Real Scientist" activity, we got a gauge of everyone's initial understanding of what it is archaeologists and other scientists do, where they work, and what kind of tools they use.  We tried a couple of quizzes that showed us pictures of tools and asked us to infer their purpose, with and without context.

Drawing some tools

Discussing shipwreck artifacts
On Tuesday, our Red and Orange groups took a trip to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology to talk to some real archaeologists and see artifacts from all over the world.  Blue and Yellow group stayed at our museum to learn all about the exciting field of underwater archaeology.  Many archaeological sites and artifacts are hidden beneath oceans and lakes due to extreme flooding, geographical changes, and ship wrecks!  Since divers investigating a site or wreck cannot speak to each other underwater, we learned the official signals divers use to communicate with each other.  Then, we applied this to a game of archaeological site battleship.  Could you help direct a fellow archaeologist to the ship wreck site using diving signals?  Campers also worked together to build their own boats, hopefully able to withstand our makeshift ocean so they didn't end up an archaeological site themselves.

A completed ship (with instructions!)

An archaeology quiz!
On Wednesday, campers learned about archaeology here in Michigan.  Campers cycled through different stations and periods of Michigan archaeological sites and history.  Our Burnham house station was an example of archaeological digs that took place right here in Ann Arbor.  Our Hunting Mastodons station and stone tools stations focused more on earlier Native American settlements and tools.  We also got a chance to weave or own baskets or pouches similar to those used by people native to Michigan.  

Making our atlatl
Thursday, Blue and Yellow groups took a trip to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology to talk to some real archaeologists and see artifacts from all over the world.  Red and Orange group stayed behind to learn about how archaeology is really done.  When archaeologists describe artifacts, they don't like to use words that could be misinterpreted.  Objects are not pretty, ugly, or anything other judgement words.  Scientists only use indisputable facts about an object in their description.  Campers also got to look at different objects and try and infer the stories behind them.

Working together

Sifting for artifacts
Collecting our finds
Friday, campers learned about the archaeology process.  We measured and tied off our own archaeology site using the traditional grid system.  We also sifted through soil found at an archaic campsite to make sure no small artifacts were missed.  Once the artifacts were all gathered they were brought inside to categorize, measure, and describe.  We also All of groups met to watch a presentation of "Stories my Ancestors Told" about Native American constellation stories unique to Michigan.

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