Archaeology in the Classroom

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It is that time of the year again! FPAN  would like to wish all the students and teachers good luck with the new school year! It is always an exciting and a busy time. Even here at FPAN we feel it. We start to get a lot of requests

Student doing an activity from one of our curriculum guides, Timucuan Technology.

Student doing an activity from one of our curriculum guides, Timucuan Technology.

from teachers around this time of the year asking us to visit their classes. We love to visit classes, but unfortunately there are very few of us and very many of you. We recognize this, and so we have created and keep adding to our resources section on our website. Here you can find videos, virtual field trips, curriculum guides and so much more that you can use in your classroom. We also offer teacher workshops and are more than happy to work with your school district to ensure that teachers who attend receive in-service credit. We have staff that are Project Archaeology facilitators, and would be willing to share their knowledge of this great educational resource as well and conduct a Project Archaeology In-Service Training for the teachers at your school.

Students can learn about prehistoric hunting techniques and the physics behind it in Atlatl Antics, which can be found in "Beyond Artifacts" in our resources section.

Students can learn about prehistoric hunting techniques and the physics behind it in Atlatl Antics, which can be found in “Beyond Artifacts” in our resources section.

The great thing about archaeology is that it is multidisciplinary! This means that no matter what subject area you teach, you can use archaeology to teach it! Archaeology incorporates math, reading, science, social studies, ethics, history, law/government, art and so much more! And have you ever met a child that was not intrigued by archaeology? If so, I can guarantee that they are the exception! Most kids are fascinated by archaeology and the concept of discovery. It is all about how you present it to them. Archaeology is hands-on and engaging! So if you are an educator, we hope that you will use our FREE online sources to assist you with incorporating archaeology into your curriculum. You will enjoy it as much as your students will! And if you ever have any questions regarding any of our resources please don’t hesitate to contact your local FPAN center. We put a lot of time and effort into developing these resources, so we also welcome feedback.

Florida Archaeology Month is Upon Us!

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Happy Florida Archaeology Month everyone! That’s right, our wonderful state has a whole month dedicated to archaeology, and that month is March! This statewide event is held each year to allow Floridians  and visitors a chance to learn more about the archaeology and history of our state, and to preserve these important parts of our rich cultural heritage. Each year we have a different theme, and this year’s theme is “Native Plants, Native People”. It explores how native people in Florida used plants and how archaeologist investigate these plants that were used by prehistoric inhabitants of Florida. You can find a calendar of events at  http://www.fasweb.org/index.htm.

Each year many organizations are involved in coordinating this statewide celebration, including the Florida Anthropological Society, the Florida Public Archaeology Network, the Florida Archaeological Council and the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. Many local museums, historical commissions, libraries, and public and private schools also participate and support Florida Archaeology Month.

Each year there is also a poster that is created around the theme. This years poster is two sided and highlights some of the sites in Florida that have contained plant remains. It is a beautiful poster! Probably one of my favorites so far. If you would like to pick one up, just let me know. They are free and a wonderful educational tool. You can also view it at the website mentioned above.

Most people don’t think of plants when they think of archaeology, but the study of  plants can provide us with insight into what prehistoric people were eating, what medicines they were using, what tools they were making and their ceremonial activities. By studying sites that contain plants, such as Windover, Key Marco, Pineland, Hontoon Island and various others, we have learned that plants made up to fifty percent of the native diet and at least that much (if not more) of their material goods!  However, plant remains are very fragile, and it is very rare to find plant remains at an archaeological site, so these sites are very special and unique. In celebration of Florida Archaeology Month this year, we are going to explore the native plants of Florida and how they were used by prehistoric peoples with our “Plant of the Week” posts. Of course, it is very important to note that this information is just for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES! Do not use the plants in the manner that we will describe. Native people had an intensive and vast knowledge of the plants and the individuals that were using them. We are just beginning to understand how these plants were used by prehistoric people, so remember, read and learn, but please don’t try! Even edible plants that are considered harmless can have undesirable effects on your body if you are not used to ingesting or using them in the manner described. We hope you will learn a great deal this month about our state’s unique cultural heritage. Hopefully this new knowledge that you gain this month will create a greater appreciation for our state’s cultural sites. So please, take some time this month to attend some local Florida Archaeology Month events in your area. You never know what you might learn! So, again, happy Florida Archaeology Month!

If you are in the Tallahassee area, you might consider joining the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee tonight at the B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology (Governor Martin House-located at 1001 DeSoto Park Drive, off of Lafayette Street behind Olive Garden) starting at 7pm for a discussion on native plants and the prehistoric peoples of Florida. Loran Anderson and myself will both be presenting on this topic. It is sure to be a great time for all and a wonderful way to kick off Florida Archaeology Month.  Anderson&Hines