Towards Archaeology Common Core Standards

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is taking a serious look at greatly expanding its education outreach programs. This is in part, do to the new COMMOM CORE EDUCATIONS STANDARES that many states are adopting.

This Blog is my take on what “We,” the AIA Education Outreach Committee, should start this effort with.

I would appreciate any input you have on this.

Craig R. Lesh

There are many aspects of archaeology that educators can use to enhance students’ knowledge.  We need to support them so they can use archaeology in many ways.   But most teachers will only use archaeology minimally and only if it can be done without having to search for teaching resources; if the lessons are few; and if they logically fit into their understanding of the standards they are expected to teach.

But what is the core knowledge and values we want students to know about archaeology prior to high school graduation?  What are the vital few concepts and values we need to the public to know?

I believe it is vital to clarify these questions for ourselves before we can create an action plan to convey them to teachers and through them to students.

Ideally a Common Core knowledge statement could be accepted by various archaeological organizations such as the AIA, the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Archaeological Conservancy, the Society for American Archaeology, the Society for Historic Archaeology, the Society for Historical Archaeology and perhaps the Registry of Processional Archeologists.

Each of our groups has a different approach and mandate but I think we could agree on the core knowledge we want the public to have in order for all of us to do our “jobs.”

Having an agreed on a Archaeology Common Core, each organization can then focus efforts according to there own approach. Have an Archaeology Common Core could give us all a stronger and more cohesive voice it talk to the educational and political communities.

As a starting point I would suggest the follow

Students will know:

That Archaeology is the scientific study of material culture to help discover the human past.

What material culture is.

What artifacts and features are.

The difference between Archaeology, History and Paleontology.

That  Archeological sites are finite resources, and that their destruction and is a loss for all of humanity.

How to articulate the archeological concept of context and why it is important.

That archaeological and historical sources work together.

Archaeologist use skill from many disciplines


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