Teaching Archaeology: Highlights from the Committee on Curriculum and the Teaching Archaeology Interest Group

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

Archaeology is a subject that easily sparks interest among college students. However, it is often difficult to construct activities which teach methodological and theoretical concepts of archaeology within the four walls of a classroom. Archaeologists rarely get a chance to discuss effective classroom activities. This poster session seeks to provide a forum to do exactly that. The SAA Committee on Curriculum is working to provide a digital space for innovative classroom activities to be provided to educators. This session will serve as a platform to show the kinds of activities that will be made available on this new SAA webpage and foster awareness of the effort so that more activities will be submitted. Activity hand outs and all other materials will be made available during the session, along with recommendations for how many and for which students these activities are most appropriate.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-9 of 9)

  • Documents (9)

  • Ancient Projectile Weapons for Teaching and Public Outreach (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Devin Pettigrew. Justin Garnett.

    Children and adults often glaze over during abstruse discussions of the past, yet most are instantly engaged and excited on witnessing a flexible dart launched with an atlatl, or a hunting boomerang whirling towards a target. Most will try their hands at these weapons with enthusiasm. Today these are curious, antiquated devices, however, they were once the battle and hunting rifles of their day, and using them provides us with some sense of what it was like to be an ancient hunter or warrior,...

  • Applying Key Archaeology Concepts: Activities for the Undergraduate Classroom (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Darlene Applegate.

    Instruction in introductory archaeology courses focuses on student understanding of key concepts such as artifact, preservation, formation processes, context, stratigraphy, and association. This poster presents hands-on activities for applying key archaeology concepts in the undergraduate classroom.

  • Beyond Excavation and Laboratory Work: New Directions in Crow Canyon Archaeological Center’s College Field School Curricula (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Susan Ryan. Rebecca Simon.

    The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center was created in 1983 to advance and share knowledge of the human experience through archaeological research, education programs, and partnerships with American Indians. Since its creation, over 70,000 students and adults have participated in the Center’s innovative experiential education, research, and travel programs. Crow Canyon’s programs vary in a number of ways in order to highlight different aspects of its tripartite mission. In 2015, Crow Canyon...

  • Collections as a Teaching Resource: A Case Study (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elanor Sonderman. Crystal Dozier.

    The Anthropology Department at Texas A&M University has an extensive but largely underutilized collection of unprovenienved artifacts, intended for use as teaching collections. Many of these materials have diagnostic attributes but have not gone through the typing process and, therefore, cannot yet be fully incorporated into the teaching collections. The authors have designed several projects for students in introductory archaeology and old world prehistory courses that give these students the...

  • The Curriculum Committee’s New Curriculum Resource (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Justin Williams. Nancy Gonlin. Leah McCurdy.

    When teaching archaeology, professors are tasked with the difficult undertaking of conveying the essence of a hands-on field that often must be taught within the confines of the classroom. This restriction can make creating effective classroom activities and all-inclusive syllabi a challenge. Adding to the difficulty is the emphasis that research receives at conferences. Latest findings from the field are the focus rather than innovative pedagogy. The SAA’s Principles of Archaeological Ethics...

  • Hohokam Communities: Taking Risks and Making Trade-offs (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only April Kamp-Whittaker. Andrea Barker. Margaret Nelson.

    Hohokam Risks and Trade-offs is the product of research funded by an NSF Coupled Human and Natural Systems grant that focused on the role of social and ecological diversity in reducing risk of food shortfall or supporting food security. Several teaching tools were developed to demonstrate to students the risks undertaken and trade-offs made by prehistoric southwestern groups in the selection of residential locations. The curriculum, based on a platform designed by NASA, engages students in the...

  • Teaching Bones from my Garden (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Whittaker.

    Few of my students have much experience with hunting, farming, anatomy, or even eating meat these days, so teaching faunal analysis labs in an Archaeological Field Methods class can be difficult. Faunal assemblages from archaeological sites are often small, fragile, and too valuable for class use. They require good comparative collections, and it may be difficult for students to relate to unfamiliar animals and cultures. A faunal teaching assemblage can be produced from home meat consumption....

  • Thirst for Knowledge: Teaching Typology and Social Organization through the Stylistic Attributes of Water Bottles (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Seebach.

    Residents of Grand Junction, Colorado must necessarily adapt to the arid, high-elevation climate of the northern Colorado Plateau. One highly visible adaptation to aridity is the personal transport of potable liquids in an array of vessels. Such vessels are ubiquitous among Colorado Mesa University students, staff and faculty, and they provide a readily accessible source of data with which to illustrate the uses of typology, style and the material correlates of social organization. In a...

  • Trash, Histories, and Community Engagement: Integrating Service Learning into the Archaeology Curriculum (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer Zovar.

    As educators teaching archaeology at the introductory level, it can be challenging to develop hands-on exercises that allow students to discover how archaeological knowledge is generated, especially when teaching at institutions without large labs or active field projects. Another major challenge is helping students to understand the relevance of archaeological research in the modern world. One way to achieve both goals may be to bring the archaeological classroom into the community, as students...