With "Excavation Adventure" students become junior archeologists as they interpret George Washington's orders to construct a log hut city at Valley Forge.
Procedure: Provide your students with an overview of the archeological dig being conducted at Valley Forge during the spring and summer of 2000. Have students answer the following questions. Discuss the answers as a class follow-up. (Visit www.nps.gov/LogCabin to follow the excavation of the Continental Army's Valley Forge encampment and to find further information to help in answering the following questions.)
HOW TO READ ARCHEOLOGY
1. What is archeology?
2. Does it help us to learn more about history? How?
3. What original sources can help us to learn about history?
4. What types of things are more likely to have survived over all these years? (Hint: think of things made of metal, stone, wood, paper, clothe or bone.)
5. What types of ideas do you think the archeologists will find when they begin to excavate the Valley Forge site during their project this year?
Read the following from General George Washington's orders to his troops about building log huts in the winter of 1777:
"The soldiers were to be formed into twelve-man squads, each charged with building its own hut. These shelters were to be made of logs chinked with clay, and were to be six and a half feet high, fourteen feet wide, and sixteen feet long. They were to be aligned along company streets, with doors (made of boards, if available, otherwise of split-oak slabs) facing the street. There would be a fireplace in the rear, made of wood and "secured" with clay. Behind the enlisted men's huts was to be a line of huts for officers. These were to be of the same design and dimensions; but instead of twelve men, each would house the officers of two companies (six to eight men), the three field officers (major through colonel) of a regiment, the members of a brigade staff, or one general officer."
7. Why was it necessary for so many men to live together in one hut?
Refer to the hut excavation diagram when answering these questions.
8. Did the men follow Washington's orders when they built this hut? Size? Entrance? Fireplace?
9. What did the men eat? (Hint: look at the hut excavation diagram for the types of animal bones found.)
10. List the tools found in the hut.
11. How were the tools likely to have been used?
12. What does the number of broken ax heads tell you about the tools?
13. Why were there posts in the middle of the floor?
Click here for answers to Activity #1