These kinds of objects were discovered by archaeologists.
What is an archaeologist? Why is it important to uncover artifacts
from other times and cultures? What can we learn from the type of
objects that are discovered? Where objects are found? How objects
are decorated? What materials were used?
The Nayarit model houses were discovered in deep tombs. Why might
they have been placed there? If you were going to have something buried
with you, what would it be? Why? What would it tell future archaeologists
about you and your culture?
Use a soft clay or Play-doh to construct a model of your home. How
will you show the way you live and what is important to you? Try
several handbuilding methods such as slab, coil, and pinching.
How do you think objects from hundreds of years ago have survived
this long? Art museums have people called conservators who restore
and care for works of art. Conservators must be good artists so
they can repaint or reweave the areas they are repairing. They must
also study chemistry to know how different cleaning solutions will
affect the surface of objects they clean. Conduct a series of experiments
in your classroom or with an adult to find out how common household
cleaners affect different materials and surfaces. Which products
would be good for cleaning an object made out of clay? How about
fabric, paint, wood, or marble? What cleaning solutions would be
harmful to these materials? Are there any special tools you might
need (for example, brushes, protective clothing)?
SOCIAL STUDIES ACTIVITIES
Contemporary Artifacts for Future Archaeologists
- Pretend you are an archaeologist in the future. What can you
find out about American society and culture in the 1990s by looking
at the artifacts of our present time? An artifact is an object
made by humans. What can artifacts tell you about the American
government in the 1990s? What were their beliefs? What did people
in the 1990s do for entertainment? Clothing, shelter and food?
Music, literature and art? Employment, education, technology?
Do an excavation in your playground or backyard. Remember: the
simplest things can often give you many clues! For example: A
penny is an artifact of American culture. What can you learn about
American culture just by looking at a penny?
- Bury a time capsule in your yard or schoolyard with important
items for future generations to find. What will you put in? Why?
What might a person in the future learn from these objects?
scientist who studies the life and customs of past cultures by examining
their material remains, usually artifacts such as utensils, stone
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