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Archeology resources for educators

Archeology can be exciting for all ages.The study of archeology has great potential for motivating young people, instructing them in a wide variety of skills, and inspiring in them an appreciation for the importance of preserving our nonrenewable cultural heritage. Fortunately, an increasing number of good materials are being produced for teachers who want to incorporate archeology into  multidisciplinary studies.

While some of the entries deal with archeological sites in other parts of the United States and the world, with a little effort and creativity, many of the suggested activities can be adapted to local situations.

If you have used other materials that were helpful in your classroom or group, we invite you to share this information with Archeologists Nikki Klarmann and Tricia Waggoner, 785-272-8681, ext. 266 and 267; Nikki.Klarmann@ks.gov or Tricia.Waggoner@ks.gov. Be sure to include contacts for obtaining the materials and, if possible, brief comments about them. As your contributions are added to the list, more comprehensive updates can be distributed.

KSHS Resources

Project Archaeology

The Kansas Historical Society offers curriculum pieces that use archeology principles in the classroom, which are designed for fourth through seventh grade students. Using primary sources and relating the material to many Kansas history, reading, writing, science and mathematics standards, these units help students acquire critical thinking, scientific inquiry, problem solving, cooperative learning, and citizenship skills. Each unit offers a student magazine, student journal, and teacher guide. All materials are available online for free.

Puzzles from the Past: Problem Solving Through Archeology

This traveling resource trunk from the Kansas Historical Society combines an exploration of Native American cultures with an introduction to basic archeological concepts. The six lessons in this trunk explore the lifestyles of some Plains Indian people using the critical thinking skills archeologists utilize. The trunk is available to anyone in Kansas and is a great teaching tool for kids whether it is used in a classroom, a scout meeting, or at home.



Anthropology Explored: The Best of Smithsonian AnthroNotes

Description: This book covers all fields of anthropology. The 29 clearly written essays in this introductory text/reader in anthropology are organized into three sections: primatology and human evolution, archeology, and cultural anthropology. Ten articles focus on how and why archeologists study the past, what can be learned through such study, and why it is relevant to the contemporary world. The cartoon-illustrated book introduces the major concepts and ideas in anthropology and includes chapter updates that illuminate the process of research and discovery in the field. The publication has received good reviews in both American Anthropologist and American Antiquity.

Archaeology Merit Badge Series

Description: Although intended as an aid to Boy Scouts in meeting merit badge requirements, this 92-page pamphlet is of general interest. Chapters are: Who Are Archaeologists?, Archaeology and Responsibility, The Development of Archaeology, How Archaeology Happens, Going on a Dig, Careers in Archaeology, Archaeology in the Future, and Archaeology Resources.

Intrigue of the Past: Discovering Archaeology in Arizona

Description: This is a part of the BLM's Project Archaeology program, along with Intrigue of the Past: A Teacher's Activity Guide. The book contains student materials and state-specific information. The eight lessons are broad-based and interdisciplinary and can be used to supplement other curricula or as separate curricular units. Kansas is mentioned in Unit 7, "When Coronado Hit the Trail."

Teaching Archaeology: A Sampler for Grades 3 to 12

Description: This 24-page workbook describes the benefits of using archeology in instruction and offers four broad-based, teacher-tested lesson plans on scientific methods, local culture history, archeology as a multidisciplinary science, and conservation.

Internet Connections:

A wealth of information is available through the Internet, but the quality of the material varies greatly and is often difficult to evaluate. You must be discriminating. Here are a few reliable addresses that will lead you to many other sites.


This is an official publication of the Archaeological Institute of America. It offers news, interactive digs, and articles that are not published in the magazine. It is recommended for high school age and up.

The Archaeology Channel

The Archaeology Channel, the streaming media web site, is constantly adding new programs about archeological sites around the world. The site includes teacher resources and a list of web links.

Archaeology for Educators

This website is targeted to K-12 educators interested in using aspects of archaeology in the classroom and to professional archaeologists involved in public education. Click the image to connect to their website.

Archaeological News

This site offers current archeological news from all over the world. Updated daily and easy to navigate, the site is recommended for anybody for research or enjoyment.

Archaeology with K. Kris Hirst

A guide to hundreds of sites about archeology and related studies. Pages include an archeological atlas, ancient civilizations, artifacts, current digs, prehistory and resource for teachers.

Kids' Guide to Archeology

This site offers an explanation of archeology and what archeologists do. It also includes many links to sites that will be of interest to students and teachers.

Nebraska Studies.org

This site is organized by an illustrated time line and has an animated migration graphic. The lessons are correlated to reading/writing, social studies, science, and math standards.

Smithsonian Institution

The educators feature offers teachers links to hundreds of resources that can be matched to subject areas and to state standards.  The site also includes activities for families and students.

Society for American Archaeology

The web site lists teaching resources available from the Society for American Archaeology, including Teaching Archaeology: A Sampler for Grades 3 to 12.

Teaching with Historic Places

Sponsored by the National Park Service, this web site provides educators with information for teaching about historic places in their classrooms. There are links to lesson plans developed by the NPS and educators across the country plus professional development opportunities.

Texas Beyond History

This teacher site has lesson plans that incorporate language arts, social studies, math/science, and art.  The lessons were written by experienced teachers and consultants. They are designed for elementary and secondary classes.  The website also has a page for kids.

Visit Archeological Sites in the US

This web site provides links to parks that have archeological sites that have been protected and are open to the public. The listed parks represent Native American sites, and Kansas' Pawnee Indian Village State Historic Site is included.

Supplemental Resources:

Archaeological Institute of America

National Geographic Society

Society for American Archaeology (SAA)

Smithsonian Institution

Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA)