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ACTIVITY IDEAS
Arkansas Archeology Week 2001

Theme: Archeological Parks

 
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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 to come.

Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park Not 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.

DOWNLOADABLE DOCUMENTS

PDF Archeological Parks handout - download this illustrated Adobe Acrobat document containing background information and activity ideas for Archeology Week 2001.

Archeology Week 2001 Bookmark

IDEAS FOR PROGRAMS OR CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Research 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.

Research 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.

Compare and Contrast
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?

Make a Collage
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.

Build a Model
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.

Write 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.

Make a Craft
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.

Take a Tour
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.

Think 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:

 

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