Summer's barely started and already I'm up to my ears in camps! Camp days are truly some of my favorite days to go to work, even if they take a LOT of energy. Kid silliness is at its apex during the summer, so it's a fun challenge to be playful and get them to learn something at the same time. I hate to leave our blog fans out of the fun, so here's your first installment of the convergence of archaeology and crazy camp kids:
Eco Camp - Ravine Gardens State Park
This camp lasts a full week, and I was invited to bring archaeology activities for one morning. We spent two hours exploring how archaeologists learn about the past and looking at some of the information we try to interpret.
We started out with a couple of lessons from Project Archaeology. The first, called, Time of My Life, teaches kids about chronology. Each camper took eight strips of paper, wrote on each one an event from their lives, and mixed them up so that they weren't in order. Then they switched with a partner and tried to put each other's events in the right chronological order. Discussing the challenges to figuring that out and the clues they used to help them, we then looked at a site stratigraphy and explored how archaeologists use similar clues to understand sites temporally.
|Eco Campers classify "artifacts" from a doohickey kit.|
|Answer: Don't feed the sharks (apples, apparently).|
|Don't make faces at old people. (note "old" person in lower right)|
|Don't smoke or drink, because people love you and you might die. This one led to controversy and reconsidering how symbols may or may not look like the idea they represent--which can present a troubling challenge to archaeologists!|
Archaeologists run into challenges of symbolic interpretation fairly often--for example, determining the deeper significance of the Hontoon Owl, or researching the meaning behind a chicken burial at Kingsley Plantation.
I think we all had fun--and the campers learned some of the skills we use beyond just digging in order to understand people of the past!