Archeological parks are
archeological sites that have been preserved in a park setting and are open
for public visitation. They may include Native American mound sites in the
eastern U.S. and pueblo towns in the west, as well as early Euro-American
or African-American towns. Archeological research at archeological parks
provides a greater understanding of the lives of the people who built and
lived at the sites, and museums or visitor centers at the parks share that
information with visitors and students. Careful management of archeological
parks is very important however, in order to balance the interests of archeological
research and public access with the preservation of the site for generations
all archeological sites are preserved as archeological parks, but those
that are usually represent some of the larger, more visible sites. In
Arkansas, for example, Toltec Mounds preserves a prehistoric mound site.
Just outside the state's borders, one can also visit these prehistoric
mound sites: Spiro Mounds, Spiro, Oklahoma; Chucalissa, Memphis, Tennessee;
and Poverty Point, Epps, Louisiana. Contact and early settlement period
archeological parks in Arkansas include Parkin and Arkansas Post. Arkansas's
historic archeological parks include the town sites of Old Washington
and Old Davidsonville and the Civil War battlefields of Prairie Grove
and Pea Ridge. For more information on these and other parks, visit the
Arkansas State Parks,
National Park Service, or Archeological
Parks in the U.S. websites.
Parks handout - download this illustrated Adobe Acrobat document
containing background information and activity ideas for Archeology Week
Archeology Week 2001 Bookmark
FOR PROGRAMS OR CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
Prehistoric Archeological Parks
Have each student or team of students select a different archeological
park to research and then prepare an exhibit or report. Illustrate mounds
or other above-ground remains, as well as artifacts recovered from the
sites. Describe what life was like for the people who lived at or used
the site. Was the site used for homes or religious purposes? Summarize
the archeological research and what was learned. Students can find information
on the sites on the Internet and through magazine articles or encyclopedias.
Start by checking the Archeological
Parks in the U.S. website.
Historic Archeological Parks
Students may prefer to study historic archeological parks, such as historic
townsites or Civil War battlefields. Report on what archeology has added
to the understanding of these sites. Compare the kinds of information
that can be learned from historic sources (courthouse records, archives)
with the kinds of information provided by archeological research. Compare
Arkansas sites with similar ones in other states.
Look for information on archeological sites in other areas of the world
where people built mounds or earthworks, or constructed stone monuments
(such as passage tombs in Ireland, standing stones in Italy, or megaliths
in France). Learn about the cultures who built them. How are they similar
or different from Native American examples?
Gather pictures of different archeological parks from throughout the U.S.
Make a collage of the pictures, or paste them in their proper regions
on a map.
Research the layout of a mound site or historic town at an archeological
park. Make a model of the site out of clay. Identify the different areas
and how they were used.
a Story or Journal
Choose a historic or prehistoric archeological park and learn about it.
Let students pretend they are living at the site during its most active
period, and write a story about a day in their lives. Students should
describe what they see as well as what they are doing. Or for a longer
project, let students keep a daily journal about their lives at the site
over one or more weeks.
Study the kind of pottery or ceramics (plates and dishes) once used at
a particular prehistoric or historic archeological park. Try to make similar
styles using clay. Decorate the prehistoric styles by copying the patterns
in the clay with a pointed stick or paints. Decorate the historic styles
by painting similar patterns or cutting patterns out of magazines and
pasting to the pottery.
Plan a visit to a nearby archeological park. Call the park office in advance
to make reservations for a guided tour and to request any background materials
and student activity sheets. Have the students research the site before
their visit, and assign different topics to study while at the park. Have
students write reports of their topics after the visit. Write thank-you
notes to the park staff.
Like An Archeologist
Pretend your classroom is an archeological site. Which items do you think
would survive hundreds or thousands of years; which items would not? Can
you tell from what remains which items belonged to girls and which to
boys? If only part of an object remained, would you be able to determine
what it was used for? Discuss what an archeologist would learn about the
class from the items that would survive. Would that tell the whole story?
You can also review activity ideas from past Archeology Weeks: