Earlier this month, UNH anthropology students, led by lecturer Marieka Brouwer Burg, created a mock excavation for seventh graders at Oyster River Middle School as part of the school’s world civilizations unit. The outreach program was “a big hit,” says Brouwer Burg.
Ninety Oyster River students participated in six teams. Each team had an excavation box, excavating tools and worksheets with which to explore, analyze and record artifacts using proper methods and techniques. The teams had to figure out which world culture they had unearthed in their boxes, based on what they had already learned about the artifacts of various early civilizations in their classes.
The activity was meant to be hands-on fun. Along the way, students learned quite a bit about the study of archaeology as well as the process of archaeological field and lab work.
“Students also learned about some of the misconceptions of archaeology – namely that archaeologists study people not dinosaurs, that we excavate to answer research questions and that we never sell artifacts,” says Brouwer Burg.
UNH students Maddy Moison, Chaya Sophon, Ashley Blum and Joe Thibeault prepared the materials for the dig and led the Oyster River students through the process. They also gave a presentation about the field of anthropology.