Teaching Archaeology

27 08 2008

Today was my first real day of teaching.  It was basically an introduction about the basics of archaeology.  So naturally I had to show a clip of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, it was to show the difference between what Indiana Jones does in the jungles of South America (looting) and what the Nazi’s do in the Egyptian desert at Tanis (excavate).  I find it humorous that the only actual archaeological field work that goes on in any of the Indiana Jones movies is performed by the Nazis, under the guidance of the French archaeologist Belloq of course.

The other interesting thing I did was play a game.  I was talking about artifacts and how an interdisciplinary approach is necessary in order to properly understand them.  So I had the students describe an object they use every day, but only give its material and physically describe half or a quarter of the object.  It was hard to figure out what they were describing, but by asking a few questions about the object, i.e. is it broken, what size is it, is it a utensil, used in the kitchen, etc…they were able to figure out what each object described was.  The point was clear to all of them, context is key and understanding all material excavated is important.  So in other words, it is important to dig carefully and scientifically record everything.

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5 responses

29 08 2008
Shadowcall

Archaeological blunders aside… Indiana Jones is a ton of fun!
The class sounds terrific!

29 08 2008
ochesnut

The Jones (now) quadralogy will always be one of my favorites, if for the pulpy, campy fun alone. thanks for reading!

30 08 2008
Darrell J. Rohl

Good luck with the teaching, Owen. The game sounds like a nice way to start the semester.

31 08 2008
Yeti

Kool stuff

31 08 2008
ochesnut

Thanks for reading, Yeti! We’ll see how it goes when I get further into the semester, have to come up with some other unique ideas.

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