CSI Oak Park: The Lost Society

CSI Oak Park:
The Lost Society
Have you ever wondered how historians find out what happened in ancient civilizations?
For most societies historians are able to use written documents to tell us what happened
thousands of years ago. However there are some societies that had no written language or whose
written language we cannot decipher. In such cases historians can only use the physical and
archaeological remains of such societies. Historians must read the evidence much the way a
detective reads clues and try to form theories about what that society was like.
Today in class you will be given many visual “clues,” and a few written ones, about an
ancient society. Then you will work with your partners to speculate on what that society must
have been like.
We will call the forgotten place “Societizzle”
Now imagine you and your group of partners are archaeologists. The phone rings at
3 AM. A colleague calls with startling news. Archaeologists have found a previously unknown
society buried under thousands of years of dust and dirt! You are called in to investigate
Societizzle. Start by carefully examining the pictures, and then work with your group to answer
the questions you see on the pages that follow.
You will be graded largely on whether you do the following: When explaining
your answers, mention specific evidence from particular slides and carefully
explain how this evidence supports your answer.
1. What form of community was it? Farming Area, Large City, Small Town?
2.What are the most impressive accomplishments of this society in terms of technology /math/
arts and science? Be very specific.
3. How much separation was there between rich and poor in this society? (Hint: think about
questions 2 and 4 and also consider whether there is a lot of bling?)
4. What did the people of this society believe happens after death? Hint, look at the burial sites,
and also note that at the cemetery some graves have no headstones but in a separate part of the
cemetery there are a few enormous tombs. These tombs contain an open casket that is raised on a
platform. There are also several other people in these tombs in small, unadorned caskets.
5. What role did the government play in everyday life? How large and important of a presence is
it? Hint: Look VERY carefully at the architecture and layout of the sites.
6. What can you guess about the mythology and religion of this society?
7. Take a guess about what caused this society to disappear.