Thursday, September 15, 2011

Resources for Teaching Archaeology and the Pre-Contact Period

It is the beginning of the school year, so I bet at least some of you are teaching Montana’s earliest history.

If so, you might enjoy this blog entry on the importance of context to interpreting artifacts. It does a good job explaining how archaeology is different than an Indian Jones style treasure hunt.

Want a quick primer on the Bering Strait controversy? Click here

Montana Ancient Teachings, a curriculum aimed at fourth grade, offers a great look at how archaeologists work and what that science suggests about the lives of Montana’s first peoples.

 The Montana Historical Society has created a 50 minute lesson plan, "What They Left Behind," to accompany this PowerPoint presentation on the various types of archaeological sites found in Montana.

Many people don’t realize how important trade was to the earliest Montanans—and how far goods traveled by boat and with dog travois. "Native American Trade Routes and the Barter Economy" includes two learning activities designed for use in grades seven through nine. Activity One, "Resources and Routes," focuses primarily on mapping pre-contact trade routes, with a special emphasis on Montana. Activity Two, "Trading Times," asks students to simulate the process through which various products from different regional tribes were bartered and disseminated to gain a better understanding of pre-contact barter economy and how it compares with the modern-day cash economy.

Links to all of these resources (except the blog post on the importance of context) can be found on the “For Educators” page of the Chapter 2, “People of the Dog Days” section of the Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website and Online Teacher’s Guide.

Finally, starting October 3, our friends at Project Archaeology are offering an online professional development course, “Investigating Shelter.” Contact Crystal Alegria at (406) 994-6925 or calegria@montana.edu.

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