Lesson 2: Archaeology

Wrapping Up


As you found, archaeology requires careful planning, attention to detail, meticulous record-keeping, and often a great deal of patience. Because of the hard work of archaeologists, we now know a great deal about people who lived in the distant past. In the rest of this unit, you'll be exploring the lives of people who lived in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. As you learn more about their lives, think about the research that was required to figure out what we now know about these people and their cultures.

Life Application

Archaeological expeditions have been the subject of many documentaries that your family might enjoy. Your public library or Internet movie rental service may also have documentary films related to archaeology from PBS, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, or other sources. Ask a librarian for a recommendation, or work with a parent to choose a video about archaeology that your family can enjoy together. You may even be able to find some documentaries focused on Mesopotamia and Egypt! As you watch, be sure to notice the tools and techniques that archaeologists use and the kinds of questions that they ask in conducting their research.

Here are some videos to get you started.
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Questions to Discuss

  • What do archaeologists do? (Your child should understand that archaeologists analyze artifacts to learn more about human history. She may offer additional details about the kinds of tools archaeologists use, the kinds of artifacts they uncover, and the challenges of archaeology.)
  • How do you think the environment of a dig location might influence the work of archaeologists? (Your child's answers will vary, but she may explain that extreme weather conditions make it difficult for archaeologists to work in some areas and that the environment — including weather, terrain, wildlife, etc. — may pose risks to archaeologists, their equipment, and the fragile artifacts they are trying to preserve.)
  • If you were an archaeologist, what kinds of things would you want to explore?

Things to Review

Look over your child's activity pages from Activity 2. If your child completed Option 1, check that her map is accurate. For both Option 1 and Option 2, your child's "Analyzing Artifacts" pages should include detailed descriptions and drawings of three artifacts with reasonable conclusions for each object about the materials used to make it, its uses, and its age. Your child's discussion of the people who used or made the object will vary depending on the artifacts your child chooses and her own ideas about them, but her arguments should be logical and supported by the available evidence.

Special Notes

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