September 14, 2010 Denver third and fourth graders video skype with doctor of archaeology in Alaska
The students are especially excited about their archaeology excavation behind our school, Foothills Academy in Wheat Ridge. So far they have found a pair of glasses, bits of old bottles and pottery, rusty chunks of metal and several old marbles. We have discussed how far back in the history of the area these artifacts go. Lauren is desperate to find something horse-related!
The dig will wrap up next week and we’ll analyze our finds before presenting them to another group of students on campus. First they will analyze their finds and make hypothesis about how old they are what they were used for. Thomas used Google to find the company that made a rubber piece he found. Under a magnifying glass he saw it was "Made in the U.S.A." by "Wagner Lockheed" and his research shows it might have been from a car in the 1950s or 1960s.
Students enjoyed each having a try at flint knapping their own obsidian arrow heads and cutting tools. These are incredibly sharp so they wore leather work gloves, eye protection and had their legs covered. First they knocked their flake off from the larger "core." Then they used finishing tools to fine tune the shape. I made one last change to each one before sending them home: I made sure their edges were dulled!
Another highlight this week was the live, in-person skype call the kids had with Dr. Jeff Rasic, chief curator of archaeology at the university of Alaska’s Museum of the North and lead excavator during this summer's Arctic expedition.
I was so proud of the great questions the kids asked on the video skpe call, such as “How can you tell how old an artifact is?” and “How do you know where to dig?”
Dr. Rasic asked the students about their excavation, as well. He asked them who they thought left these artifacts. Fourth grader Fiona answered confidently about the history of the school, which was previously a racing horse barn and before that, located in an area where Ute Native Americans lived.