Archaeological Dig: A Written Piece about the Activity

by Diana, Alex  S., and Grace

Have you ever wanted to experience the feeling of what it would be like to be an archaeologist? Well, actually, our sixth grade classes got to be archaeologists for the day. Isn’t that exciting?!

In preparation for our dig, Ms. M. assigned us different ancient civilizations so we could research their art styles.  Then we used our knowledge to decorate pots in the artistic style of our civilizations. Once we were done, Ms. M. dropped our pots and they broke into many pieces—called potshards. Later, Bob (Ms. M.’s husband) and a team of four students buried these potshards in our tubs along with other artifacts and ecofacts for us to discover on the day of the dig.  Just so everyone remembers, an ecofact is something that is not manmade, such as a fossil.  An artifact is something that has been crafted by humans, such as jewelry.

For the dig, Ms. M. divided us into archeological teams and sent us to the field to begin. Once we got our archaeological sites in tubs, we discovered that the tubs had three layers—or strata:

Every team member had an important job: the excavator, who was the digger; the map maker, who drew the artifacts in their place on a grid; the museum curator, who cleaned the artifacts, and the historian, who recorded what the artifact was and what it might have been used for. Every ten minutes, the group members would rotate jobs. To complete our tasks, the tools we used were mini shovels, twine, paint brushes, sifters, buckets and tubs.

We used stratigraphy to decide whether the artifact was prehistoric, historic, or modern.  Strata are layers, and the oldest items are usually discovered on the bottom and the more recent items are usually found nearer the top.  During the excavation, we found feathers, beans, shark teeth fossils, beads, shells, jewelry, arrowheads, leather, and clothes pins!

The day was done before we knew it! Even though we got extremely dirty, we had a blast of fun! Now we know the experience of being an archaeologist. We also have a better understanding of how the work of archaeologists helps us to learn about the past.