Teachers Notes - Heart of The Glens LPS

Community Archaeology Project
Included in this pack are suggested curriculum based themes for creating lesson plans when
considering an archaeology project. The pack also includes discussion on post visits and
supporting activities and worksheets.
1. What is Archaeology? An Introduction
Curriculum areas covered-The Arts, Language and Literacy, The World Around Us-Science
and Technology, The World Around Us-History, The World Around Us-Geography
2. The Dig-Examining the Findings
Curriculum areas covered- The Arts, The World Around Us-Science and Technology, The
World Around Us-History, The World Around Us-Geography, Personal Development and
Mutual Understanding
3. Your History-Recording and Displaying
Curriculum areas covered- The Arts, The World Around Us-Science and Technology, The
World Around Us-History, The World Around Us-Geography, Personal Development and
Mutual Understanding, Language and Literacy and Mathematics and Numeracy.
1. What is Archaeology? An Introduction
The discussion points and activities below will help you and your class
explore archaeology a little deeper.
Class Discussion-Introducing Archaeology
Begin by writing the word Archaeology on the board and ask your class to write down three words to
explain what Archaeology means to them. Discuss the words as a class and work together to come
up with a final definition.
A suggested definition could be;
Archaeology is the study of people who lived in the past, learning about how they lived by looking at
the places and things they left behind.
Ask your class to imagine they are an archaeologist on the night before their first ever dig-What
should they pack in their bag? Ask the class to write a diary entry on how they feel and what they
hope to find.
Worksheet 1
Circle 10 things you would expect to find at an archaeological dig. Discuss the answers with the class.
Hard hat-An excavation can be a dangerous working environment, especially if there are
diggers or machinery on site
Spade-An excavation involves digging trenches, usually with spades
Bucket-For gathering materials or taking away debris
Tape measure-The dig site will be carefully measured out, the tape measure may also be
used if foundations or other large artefacts are uncovered
Toothbrush-For cleaning small artefacts
Trowel-For carefully removing dirt and debris
Paintbrush-For cleaning and removing dirt and debris
Map-Maps of the site will help when digging and when recording any finds
Pencil-for note taking!
Marker Posts-to mark out the area of the excavation
Discuss as a class what an archaeologist does and why the information and artefacts they discover
are important. Archaeologists find out about the past by discovering artefacts left behind by our
ancestors, examining what they have found and recording the findings for the future.
With the points discussed ask the class to write a poem called ‘The Archaeologist.’
Look at an OS Map of the area, in pairs pupils should note down places of historic interest within
their area. As a class discuss what these places look like, can they be compared to famous
monuments such as Newgrange or Stonehenge?
2. The Dig-Examining the findings
You and your class have visited a real life archaeological excavation and
you may have seen artefacts that were discovered. It is important that any artefacts are examined
to see how they have changed over time and what can be learnt from them.
The environment in which the artefact is found and the material it is made from will determine how
it decomposes over time. Organic materials will break down and rot, however if it has been left in a
very dry, cold or wet environment it will be well preserved.
Inorganic materials will not rot but may suffer from damage such as rusting or breaking, these give
archaeologists offer archaeologists a lot of information about the past because they survive so well
over time.
Use the table on page 5-cut out or rearrange on the board and ask the class to link the length of time
to the item. Alternatively give each pupil an item and a length of time and get them to find their
Discuss the reasons why items rot faster than others. Discuss organic materials found in a dry desert,
in liquid or encased in ice. Talk about the Bog Bodies held in the National Museum of Ireland. Talk
about flint from nearly 5000 years ago, helping us to understand more about how our ancestors
hunted and cooked.
Worksheet 2
Examine the picture of the skeleton and the artefacts left behind, draw what this person may have
looked like 4000 years ago. Suggested image Page 6.
In pairs ask the pupils to think about how this person would have lived-where did they live and what
did they eat? Ask the class to report back their findings.
3. Your History- Recording and Displaying
Recording the findings from a dig is important so that we can piece together a better understanding
of the past and so that the information is available for future generations to study. Museums often
are the best place to tell the story of our ancestors through the objects they left behind.
Bring in an ‘artefact,’ this could be something that’s important to you-it doesn’t necessarily have to
be old. Alternatively you could ask a local museum or historical society about borrowing a loan box
or an item from a handling collection. Hold the item up for the class and invite them to ask questions
about it to find out as much as possible-How does it feel? Who did it belong to? Is it valuable?
Where was it found? What is it made out of?
Recap on the answers and highlight question that they could have asked. This will help to highlight
why artefacts are so important in understanding our past and our ancestors.
Activity and Worksheet 3
Ask pupils to bring in their own ‘artefact,’ something which is important to them. In pairs the pupils
can interview each other on their items and record the findings to build up a history on the item.
Ask a selection of pupils to present their findings.
Ask the class to draw/paint/use computer to create a picture of their artefact or item, placing it in its
original environment. This may involve the pupils carrying out some research online or using books.
Make a Neolithic coil pot from clay. Give each pupil a ball of self-drying clay. Make a base by
breaking off a piece of clay and flattening it with your palm so it is a little bigger than the size of a £2
coin. Next take a piece of clay and roll into a long sausage shape, join this onto the base and attach
it around the base to make the first layer. Continue by making longer pieces of clay to build up the
sides of the pot. When you have finished gently smooth the sides with your fingers and make sure
the clay is joined properly and there are no gaps. Use a pencil to initial the base and use shells and
twigs to create a design on the outside of the pot. They will take a few days to dry.
Make a class exhibition on the class artefacts or drawings or pots. Label the artefacts using the label
on page 7. Invite other classes to see the exhibition, take photographs of it and make an online
Examining the findings-Rotting
Length it takes to rot away
Banana Peel
3-4 weeks
Paper Bag
1 month
6 weeks
Baked Bean Tin Can
50 years
Plastic Cup
50 years
Apple Core
2 months
Aluminium Fizzy Drink Can
Up to 500 years
Orange Peel
6 months
Woollen Sock
1-5 years
Disposable Nappy
550 years
Cigarette Butt
10-12 years
Plastic Bag
Up to 1000 years
Leather Shoe
25-40 years
Glass Bottle
1-2 million years
Plastic Bottle
450 years
Artists Impression of Neolithic settlers
Label for artefacts
Archaeologist who discovered it:
Background information:
Worksheet 1
Which 10 objects would you find at an archaeological dig?
Worksheet 2
Worksheet 3
Artefact Recording Sheet
Archaeologists Name:
The Artefact:
A sketch of the artefact
What is the artefact made from?
What colour is the artefact?
Is the artefact in one piece?
How long is the artefact?
How wide is the artefact?
How tall is the artefact?
Describe how the artefact feels in your hands.
What do you think the artefact is/was used for?
How long do you think the artefact would
survive if it was buried?
What have you found out about the artefact?
Heart of the Glens Landscape Partnership SchemeOutreach and Volunteer Officer Ciara OhArtghaile 028 2075 2103 ciara@lps.ccght.org
Queens Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork
National Museum Ireland www.museum.ie Bog Bodies in Archaeology- Kingship and Sacrifice
Glens of Antrim Historical Society www.antrimhistory.net 24 Mill St, Cushendall, Ballymena BT44
0RR, 028 2177 1180
The National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk Learning Officer North Coast, 028 2073 3327
Causeway Museum Service 028 7034 7234 and www.mountsandel.com for interactive material and
suggested activities
Mid Antrim Museum Service-The Braid www.thebraid.com or 028 2563 5925
National Museums NI-The Ulster Museum www.nmni.com
Glens of Antrim Historical Society