The educational adventure included tours to several excavated sites such as the famous cliff dwellings. Students examined artifact replicas and other archaeological evidence representing different periods in Pueblo history. Through group discussions of their observations and inferences, students constructed a chronology spanning thousands of years. Then they explored a replica of a 7th-century basketmaker pithouse and engaged in hands-on activities, including fire-starting (with a bow drill), making fiber cordage, and “hunting” with spears and atlatls (a tool that uses leverage to increase velocity in dart-throwing).
At the Pueblo Learning Center, students investigated a replica of a masonry pueblo, including rooms and a two-story tower. They discussed natural resources and farming practices, learned Pueblo games, and wove on an upright loom to get a feel for Pueblo life in the 12th century. Students got “hands-on” with the practical skills of field archaeology as they excavated and mapped replicas representing different Pueblo time periods. Using the scientific method, students developed their own research questions and drew conclusions on the basis of their observations.
This was an incredible opportunity for the middle school students of HCMS to have hands-on learning of archaeology. They came back with a head full of knowledge that they will never forget!