Resource Type
Completion Time
Less than a week
Elementary and Up
Download, Share, and Remix
Frank Kelley
Typical bedroom in need of cleaning
Clipboard (optional)
Gloves (optional)
Respirator (optional)
Parent (helpful but not required)
General Archaeology and Anthropology
Tools and Methods


The Surface Archaeology Activity will allow you to develop some of the knowledge and skills that archaeologists use to do their work while also getting a chore done at home. The steps are really easy, and then you can decide to maybe tackle another room in the house.


The objective for this activity are to:

  • experience the excitement of archaeology
  • understand the process archaeologists use
  • recognize the information that archaeologists use to compare different sites
  • discover patterns of objects and materials
  • have fun!


The bedroom you choose to study should need to be cleaned but not be a complete disaster. The goal is to get the room clean while learning about archaeology. If there is too much material to go through you might consider getting some helpers.


  1. Make a map of your room on a piece of paper. Include permanent objects such as furniture, bed(s), desks, bookcases, closet, etc.
  2. Make a chart or use the attached example.
  3. Decide where you want to start. Pick a corner or along one wall.
  4. Make your first discovery. Label the object on your map. Give it a code name, for example, instead of Red Sox t-shirt, call it RSTee#1.
  5. Record the object on the chart. Include as much information as possible.
  6. Continue in the same direction until you come to the next object.
  7. When multiple objects are stacked on top of each that is called stratification. A big word that means layers of objects with one being deposited before the other. The oldest object is below the more recent object. Think of it this way, you take off your shoes, throw them in the corner, then take off your socks and throw them on top. Which got there first?
  8. Continue to work across your first line, mapping, recording, and picking up.
  9. Once you reach the wall or a permanent object start your next line and go from there. Each of these lines is known as a transect line.
  10. Continue until the map/ chart are complete and your room is clean. Share with your parents, celebrate your accomplishment, and save the map and chart. You can compare the pattern of what was where in a few days or weeks when you go through this activity again!!
  11. Additional discussion questions are attached as well.
  12. Send me feedback at "Ask the Team" to let me know how the activity worked and what you found. Consider doing your work on computer and sending the map and chart along to me. I will post the best on this website.


Frank Kelley