—Uncovering artifacts can be an exciting
adventure. Deciphering how objects were used, who might have used them,
and other aspects of their context helps students to think about the
commonalties between cultures.
teachers —Many disciplines such as mathematics,
geography, cultural studies, and citizenship can be taught through anthropology.
Archeological activities can promote social interaction alongside scientific
—Students who know about archeology
will have a greater appreciation for sites that are historically and
culturally significant. Hopefully, this will lead to less looting and
vandalism and greater support for stewardship in the future. An ethic grounded in archeological stewardship can also shape students' consideration of other people and their heritage.
Using archeology as a teaching tool can seem daunting if you don't know much about it. Two great ways to start learning about how to use archeology
as a teaching tool are our online guides, Archeology
for Interpreters: A Guide to the Resource and its counterpart, Interpretation
for Archeologists: A Guide to Increasing Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities.
Created to help National Park Service interpreters and archeologists discuss
archeological resources with the public, educators can also use these guides
to learn about incorporating archeology into their classroom toolkit. Other useful resources are also listed below.
Archeology for Interpreters answers
questions about archeological methods, interpretation with archeological
data, sensitivity in cultural resource matters, and encouragement of a
sense of stewardship in youth. It also provides numerous links to get
you started, including recommendations on parks to visit, lesson plans,
and publications. Perhaps most importantly, the guide intends to help
you feel comfortable using archeology as a multi-disciplinary resource.
Interpretation for Archeologists
offers methods for encouraging students to find personal meanings in archeological
resources. This guide discusses the elements of interpretation that teachers
can develop for their classrooms, such as the connections between tangible,
intangible, and universal elements that facilitate learning and discussion.
Archeology for Kids
describes what archeologists do and what archeology is about.
Educators: The Public Benefits of Archeology
offers case studies of the use of archeology in education.
Archeology Law for the Public
provides information in plain English about archeology laws that protect resources.
Visit archeological sites
Site visits offer students and teachers experiences with archeological materials, the ability to talk with archeologists, and opportunities to think like an archeologist. Here are some ways to find out what is in your area for you and your students to do:
- Start on the Visit Archeology page. Contact your closest national
park or other nearby sites for information about archeology fieldtrips
and educational material.
- See which national parks have outreach programs
at Park Educational Resources in
archeology. Check out the National Park Service LearnNPS
- Check out the Bureau of Land Management's Adventures in the Past site.
- Visit your state Department of Education online to learn how anthropology can fit into curriculum requirements and what resources they suggest.
- Ask your state archeologist about educational programs,
such as having a professional speak at your school. A state archeologist
could also put you in contact with a nearby archeological society.
National Association of State Archaeologists keeps a list of state
- Participate in a state archeology event. Contacts
for states with activities can be found at the State
Archeology Weeks and Months page.
- Contact an archeological center about educational programs and traveling materials. Here are a few centers with resources that may also by helpful for out-of-state teachers.
- Crow Canyon Archaeological Center:
Resource guides and online interactive activities are provided in addition to information about on-site programs in Colorado.
- Anasazi Heritage Center:
Descriptions of Anasazi life, material for loan, trip planning resources and more for educators are offered on this Colorado museum site.
- Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center:
The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse created a primer on pre-European people in the Mississippi Valley and provides information about traveling teacher kits.
- Southeast Archeological Center:
This NPS center offers lists of online resources, publications, and
- Also see Volunteer Opportunities.
Collect lesson plans, activities, and teaching aids.
Here are a few of the best places to start looking:
- Colorado Coal Field War Project
Lesson plans created by attendees of the Colorado Endowment for Humanities Teacher's Institute.
- The Society for American Archaeology
SAA educational publications are listed here and available by mail. Teaching Archaeology: A Sampler for Grades 3 to 12 is available online and has several lesson plans.
- The American Anthropological Association
The AAA arranges resources by subject, including various anthropological disciplines, Native American, and African American studies.
- The Heritage Education Network
Ideas, lesson plans, activities, and other resources
for teaching heritage are included on this site. Topics include archeology,
architecture, farms, cemeteries, and family history.
- NPS History & Culture for Teachers
Feature stories, lesson plans, publications, and other learning tools are available
here from the National Park Service.
with Historic Places
This index provides lesson plans sorted by subject and often connected to a national park. Instructions on how to use TwHP lessons are also available. Also read some of the articles in "Creative Teaching with Historic Places."
- Bureau of Land Management – Learning Landscapes
BLM provides classroom activities that incorporate online interactive components and printable posters. Of special interest is the nationwide teaching resource Project Archaeology.
- Anthropology on the Internet for K-12, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
A database of anthropology Internet resources on various topics including linguistics, socio-cultural anthropology, and archeology is maintained here.
- Anthropology Outreach Office
The National Museum of Natural History has prepared learning activities and bibliographies that may be particularly useful for teaching Native American studies.
Resources Information Center (ERIC)
Educational services and products clearinghouse managed by the Department of Education. Lesson plans can be found by searching by subject under social studies and anthropology.
- Alexandria Archaeology
The Office of Historic Alexandria offers several online resources. Archeologists at Work introduces the five steps of archeology through a case study of an apothecary shop. Educational Activities for Home and Classroom teaches about the methods used by archeologists. Also, be sure to look at the Kid's Page for activities for younger children.
Resources for Educational Excellence
This site lists educational resources on government web sites.
- Newton's Apple: Archeology
Information, resources and activities related to being an archeologist.
- Welcome Teachers! Texas Beyond History
Lesson plans, state standards, and other information about teaching the history of Texas using archeology.
Find interactive anthropology activities that students
can do online. Below are several useful sites:
back to for the public