Junior Archaeologists

Hello Camp Families! Another week has come to an end. As usual you will find a brief summary of what we did each day as well as some photos, enjoy!


Campers learned about the process of archaeology. They learned what an archaeologist is and what do they do. They also learned how archaeologists work, as well as other things such as how they can determine the age of artifacts they find.

Campers also did an activity where they examined two archaeological sites. The first site map showed a Native American site that was excavated by a team of archaeologists. The second map showed the same site but this time is showed how it might look like if it were looted by pothunters.

In the end the distribution of artifacts was different between each site map.This is because the goals of each person, an archaeologist and a pothunter are different.

Another activity we did with the campers involved the study of context. Context is the relationship artifacts have to each other and the situation they are found. Archaeologists rely on the objects that people made and where they left them to learn the story of past people. 

A craft we did on Monday was watercolor resist painting. We presented the campers with the scenario: Imagine 1,000 years from today someone was going to begin an archaeological dig in their backyard, what would they find? The objects they painted would tell future civilizations about themselves.


The older campers (orange, green and yellow groups) went to the Kelsey Museum. Here are some pictures of what they did and saw!

The campers that stayed behind learned about Ancient China. One of the activities that we did was we make a Ming Bowl. The Ming Dynasty was known for the beautiful ceramics they produced.

Tangrams are ancient Chinese puzzles. Seven pieces are used to make an image. Campers either used templates with images already created or made their own images. 

The Game of Nim is another game that campers played. In China it is called ‘Jian Shi ZI, or ‘Picking Stones.’ 16 small objects are needed for this game, we used Popsicle sticks. The game is played with two people.  Players must take turns and pick up as many or as few objects as they wish. However the goal is to avoid being left with the last object. If a played is left with the last object then they lose.


Campers participated in an artifact screening. They had an assortment of artifacts that they had to screen, analyze and categorize. The artifacts ranged from mammal bones, to fish vertebrae and stone tools. 

Campers also learned about the Edmund Fitzgerald, a shipwreck that happened on Lake Superior in 1975. After that they partook in a mock shipwreck dive. We first learned some diving signals before we embarked on our dive. Once that was done we used our imaginations and started searching for artifacts in the sunken ship.

We also learned about petroglyphs. Petroglyphs are rock carvings made by pecking directly on a rock surface using a stone chisel or hammerstone. Petroglyphs are found worldwide and were often made by prehistoric peoples. Michigan has petroglyphs located in Sanilac Michigan. After watching a video about them, campers made their own petroglyphs.


Today it was the younger campers'(red and blue groups) turn to go to the Kelsey Museum. Here are some pictures from the field trip!

The rest of the campers stayed behind to learn about Ancient China. They ended up doing most of the same activities the younger campers did on Tuesday. However unlike the younger campers, the old campers got to play a game called Marco Polo’s Silk Road Game. The game teaches campers about the Silk Road. The Silk Road was a series of trade routes in which China was a crucial player in


One of the first activities we did today was go over the steps of an archaeological dig. We did this as a sorting game. There are ten steps altogether and campers had to use what they learned throughout the week to put together the correct order. This activity was also done as preparation for the dig we would be doing later today

The campers went on an archaeological dig. Take a look at what they found!

The Archaeology Olympics were a series of games we played with the campers that had an archaeological theme associated with them.

The older campers did an exercise in analyzing artifacts and ecofacts to try and put together a story. The first exercise had the campers reading a diary entry from the 19th century. In the entry a nine year old child is describing daily life. Fast forward to the present time, his home is now an archaeological site. The campers had to list items they would excavate at the Bowen homesite and classify them as artifacts or ecofacts.

The second exercise had the campers look at another site, this time is was the Snaketown Site. Here they were provided with a list of items that were found at the site. From this list they had to decide whether they were artifacts or ecofacts. Then they had to classify how people would have used them. The final step in this exercise had the campers writing a diary entry of their own. This time they had to imagine that they lived at the Snaketown site back in the past.