Hands-on History: teaching archaeology to students - experiences from the classroom, from the museum, and from the field Building Bridges for Historical Learning 28-9 March 2011 Dr Craig Barker Sydney University Museums
The Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney
Archaeology , or archeology (from Greek ἀ ρχαιολογία, archaiologia ) is the study of past human societies, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data which they have left behind, which includes artefacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes.
Archaeology studies human history from the development of the first stone tools 2.5 million years ago up until recent decades.
Material culture can help us understand the Australian narrative too
An understanding of archaeological processes and analysis can bring to students:
tangible learning experiences through “holding history” (hands-on experiences)
development of critical thinking through artefact analysis
development of multiple interpretations based on available evidence
a different and memorable experience (particularly if it is out of the classroom)
a fun and entertaining learning experience
Two types of approaches to archaeological analysis that needs to be considered:
General archaeological methodology, theory and practices
(How, Where, Why, What, When)
Site/Culture/Artefact Specific Research (e.g. Pompeii, ancient ceramic production, The Rocks, etc.)
The level of investigative detail by the students can be varied according to age and complexity of the study, but an understanding of archaeological processes as well as historical processes gives students a more holistic understanding of past lives.
Work on your descriptive powers. Practice describing simple everyday objects around you, even: a telephone, a book, a DVD, a tree, a tin can, a coin. You don't have to describe what it's used for, necessarily, but what is the texture like, what is its over all shape, what colour is it. Use a thesaurus, just pack your descriptions with words.
Sharpen your visual skills. Buildings are perfect for this. Find an older building--doesn't have to be terribly old, 75 years or more would be fine. If it is old enough, the house you live in works perfectly. Look at it closely and try to see if you can tell what might have happened to it. Are there scars from old renovations? Can you tell if a room or a window sill was painted a different color once? Is there a crack in the wall? Is there a bricked-up window? Is there a stain on the ceiling? Is there a staircase that goes nowhere or a doorway that's permanently shut? Try to figure out what happened.
HOW DO I STAY UP TO DATE WITH RELEVANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS AND NEW RESEARCH? http://www.earthwatch.org/
Keeping Up To Date With Research: Archaeology Magazines Archaeology Bi-monthly publication of the Archaeological Institute of America Now in its fiftieth year