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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Working with the Riverside/ Inland Southern California Society of the AIA

Wesley Bernadini of the University of Redlands working with Scouts

Wesley Bernadini of the University of Redlands working with Scouts

The first Archaeology Fair for the Riverside/Southern California society of the Archaeology Institute of America was held on October 19th at the offices of Statistical Research, (SRI), in Redlands.

The fair’s exhibitors were from academic departments, museums, avocational organizations and CRM firms. They brought something for everyone; from elementary and middle school students and Boy Scouts to high school students looking for university information and college students and young professional looking for career guidance to the general public of all ages.

Attendees got a tour of SRI’s archaeology lab, make pottery, make and write on ancient Roman style tablets, classify historic artifacts, and learn about archaeology projects in California, Mexico, and the Near East.

A special thanks goes to our host, Statistical Research, Inc. and especially Tamara M. Serrao-Leiva, and  SRI President, Donn Grenda.


Kristie Blevins of Heritage Education Programs

Kristie Blevins of Heritage Education Programs

The exhibiters included

Calico Archaeological Site, Cal State University, Los Angeles, California Site Stewart Project, The Chambers Group, Claremont Graduate School, The Fullerton Art Museum at Cal State, San Bernardino, Heritage Education Programs, Statistical Research, Inc., and the University of Redlands,

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Common Core Educations Standards

DSCN0552Our Archaeology Adventure “field school” is aligned to the new Common Core Educations Standards. Here are some of the standards that our programs address.

Grade 4 Students

Language Arts
Writing Standards

3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or
events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear
event sequences
7. Participate in shared research and writing projects
Speaking and Listening Standards
3. Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.
7. Participate in shared research and writing projects on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).


4.2.1 . Discuss the major nations of California Indians, including their geographic distribution, economic activities, legends, and religious beliefs; and describe how they depended on, adapted to, and modified the physical environment by cultivation of land and use of sea resources.
4.4 Students explain how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing the transformation of the California economy and its political and cultural development since the 1850s.
1. Understand the story and lasting influence of the Pony Express, Overland Mail Service, Western Union, and the building of the transcontinental railroad, including the contributions of Chinese workers to its construction.

Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills Kindergarten Through Grade Five

Chronological and Spatial Thinking
2. Students correctly apply terms related to time, including past, present, future, decade, century, and generation.
3. Students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying both similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same.
4. Students use map and globe skills to determine the absolute locations of places and interpret information available through a map’s or globe’s legend, scale, and symbolic representations.
Research, Evidence, and Point of View
1. Students differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
2. Students pose relevant questions about events they encounter in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photographs, maps, artworks, and architecture.


5.c. Students know moving water erodes landforms, reshaping the land by taking it away from some places and depositing it as pebbles, sand, silt, and mud in other places (weathering, transport, and deposition).
Investigation and Experimentation
6. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations.
6.a. Differentiate observation from inference (interpretation) and know scientists’ explanations come partly from what they observe and partly from how they interpret their observations.
6.b. Measure and estimate the weight, length, or volume of objects.
6.c. Formulate and justify predictions based on cause-and-effect relationships.
6.e. Construct and interpret graphs from measurements.
6.f. Follow a set of written instructions for a scientific investigation.

Grade 5 Students

Language Arts

Writing Standards
3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
7 Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
Speaking and Listening Standards
1. Summarize the points a speaker or media source makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence,
7. Participate in shared research and writing projects on a single topic to produce a report; record.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
6. Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, (science observations).

Measurement and Data (5.MD)

Convert like measurement units within a given measurement system.
1. Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problem.
Geometry (5.G)
Graph points on the coordinate plane to solve real-world and mathematical problems.
1. Use a pair of perpendicular number lines, called axes, to define a coordinate system, with the intersection of the lines (the origin) arranged to coincide with the 0 on each line and a given point in the plane located by using an ordered pair of numbers, called its coordinates. Understand that the first number indicates how far to travel from the origin in the direction of one axis, and the second number indicates how far to travel in the direction of the second axis, with the convention that the names of the two axes and the coordinates correspond (e.g., x-axis and x-coordinate, y-axis and y-coordinate).

History–Social Science

5.3 Students describe the cooperation and conflict that existed among the American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers.
5.4 Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.


Investigation and Experimentation
6.b. Develop a testable question.
6.g. Record data by using appropriate graphic representations (including charts, graphs, and labeled diagrams) and make inferences based on those data.
6.h. Draw conclusions from scientific evidence and indicate whether further information is needed to support a specific conclusion.

Grade 6 Students

Language Arts

Speaking and Listening Standards
1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


The Number System
6. Understand a rational number as a point on the number line. Extend number line diagrams and coordinate axes familiar from previous grades to represent points on the line and in the plane with negative number coordinates.
8. Solve real-world and mathematical problems by graphing points


6.1 Students describe what is known through archaeological studies of the early physical and cultural development of humankind from the Paleolithic era to the agricultural revolution.
6.3 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the Ancient Hebrews.
6.7 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures during the development of Rome.

Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills Grades Six Through Eight Chronological and Spatial Thinking

3. Students use a variety of maps and documents to identify physical and cultural features of neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries and to explain the historical migration of people, expansion and disintegration of empires, and the growth of economic systems.

Research, Evidence, and Point of View
1. Students frame questions that can be answered by historical study and research. 2. Students distinguish fact from opinion in historical narratives and stories. 3. Students distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, essential from incidental information, and verifiable from unverifiable information in historical narratives and stories. 4. Students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions from them. 5. Students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources used, author’s perspectives)


6.6.c Students know the natural origin of the materials used to make common objects.
Investigation and Experimentation
7. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
7.a. Develop a hypothesis.
7.c. Construct appropriate graphs from data and develop qualitative statements about the relationships between variables.
7.d. Communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and oral presentations.
7.e. Recognize whether evidence is consistent with a proposed explanation.

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Glass and Soil: New STEM lessons for our Archaeology Adventure Program

Archaeology Soil Triangle

Archaeology Soil Triangle

Glass and Soil:  New STEM lessons for our Archaeology Adventure Program

Glass and Soil: New STEM lessons for our Archaeology Adventure Program

We are introducing two new lessons components to our Archaeology Adventure Program.
GLASS: Roman glass fabrication and the 1609 glass works at Jamestown Virginia are the subjects of several of our simulated archaeological sites. Where glass originates can help archaeologist determine trade routs. Though all glass have similar compounds they vary according to the resources available and the “recipes” used
The components of glass give chemical signatures that can be determined by using a spectrometer. During our Archeology Adventure Program students will compare the chemical compounds in various glass samples to determine where they were manufactured.
Thank you to Peter Robertshaw, Ph.D. of the California State University, San Bernardino for the glass formula data used for this lesion.

SOIL is the matrix that archaeologists deal with when excavating. Soil is more than the stuff that is in the way of getting to the “good stuff.” It is a vital part of archaeological sites. To understand the past, archaeologist need to understand how the site was covered and how the surrounding soil affected the artifacts and features in archaeological sites.
Students at our Archaeology Adventure Program have always described soil as part of their excavations. In our new lesson, students can take a soil sample back to their classroom. Teachers will be given lessons plans so there students can conduct scientific investigations of the soil and more precisely describe it, in same way archaeologists and soil scientist do.
Thanks to University of North Carolina and North Carolina Project Archaeology for the lesson that is the basis of our soil investigation.

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August 7, 2013 · 9:27 pm

Boy Scouts Start Creating Our “NEW” 3000 year old Archaeology Site

We are in the process of creating two “new” archaeology sites for our Archaeology Adventure program at La Sierra University, in Riverside.
The sites will take advantage of the University’s collection of Roman Glass, artifacts from the Iron Age Tall al-‘Umayri, in Jordan.  These two sites will in addition to “Historic California” site, so up to 100 students can participate in our Archaeology Adventure program at the same time.The new sites are at La Sierra’s new Center for Middle Eastern Archaeology..  Dr. Doug Clark is the director of the Center and the director of the excavation at Tall al-’Umayri.

The CrewDr Doug,     Tim,           Scout,     Joseph,  Scout, Scout, Scout, Craig

The Crew
Dr Doug, Tim, Scout, Joseph, Scout, Scout, Scout, Craig

The sites were dug out by a backhoe.  The first stage in the creating the sites was undertaken on January 4, 2012,  by five Boy Scouts working on their Archaeology Merit Badge. They worked to make some dry stone walls that represent a section of a “four room house” uncovered at ‘Umayri. The Scouts started building an outside wall and a an interior wall.  The wall sections are same scale as the those in ‘Umaryi though their height will be only two courses high.

Artist’s conception of  the Urmayri four room house

Artist’s conception of the Urmayri  four room house

The ‘Umayri excavation has uncovered a village that was devastated by an earthquake; rebuilt and then destroyed by warfare.  Our Tall al-‘Umayri site will contain some artifacts that where originally found in ‘Umayri.  Another feature at the site will be the remnants of a column furnace.  The furnace was use to make bloom iron at our former Iron Age site, at the University.  It was buried and then excavated by Archaeology Adventure students. The furnace will moved to become part of our new site.The other site will represent a Roman Glass Works similar to the one created for the Archaeology Adventure at the Lewis Center for Educational Research.  Students attending the program at La Sierra, will also be able see some of the Roman glass collection.

Web sites for more information on Tall al-‘Umayri

The plot plan for the four room house and the section of the ‘Umayri site used for our  “dig site”

The plot plan for the four room house and the section of the ‘Umayri site used for our “dig site”

Jordan dig goes hi-tech with 3D, x-rays and iPads

Classical and Near East Studies, University of Minnesota

Making the exterior  wall

Making the exterior wall

Explore the Four Room House

Our Unmyri site so far

Our Unmyri site so far

Tall al-`Umayri 2012: Summer of Surprises

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Heritage Education Programs is expanding its role at La Sierra University


Heritage Education Programs is expanding its role at La Sierra University. Our Archaeology Adventure field trip program sites will be moving to the new Center for Near Eastern Archaeology at La Serra University (LSU).  The new sites will be based on LSU’s archaeology research and collections.   One of our new sites will again be base on an Iron Age site in the Near East. LSU also has an outstanding collection of Roman Glass, so our other new site will based on a Roman Glass Works.




The following is from a LSU document about the new Center


The La Sierra University Center for Near Eastern Archaeology has been established for the purpose of focused research on and educational promotion of the archaeology of the Near East. By utilizing the expertise of a variety of individuals from across the campus, the center will:


 1) offer resources for the development of courses and programs which will appeal not only to current students, but to a new clientele as well–the undergraduate major and minor in archaeology and a Master of Arts degree in archaeology

 2) provide research opportunities for exploring the cultural context of the biblical world, especially through its primary sponsorship of the Madaba Plains Project (MPP) excavations at Tall al-`Umayri, Jordan

3) develop and expand archaeological research throughout the Madaba Plains region of Jordan.

4) provide facilities and space for administering all the activities of the center

5) oversee campus archaeological labs and the processes of curation and cataloging

6) maintain sufficient lab space for research on artifacts donated to the university, like the Blaine, and Vine collections, and those provided through excavations of the MPP-`Umayri.

7) foster a research atmosphere on campus through the cross-disciplinary colloquium, Archaeology Across the Campus

 8) provide space, equipment and facilities for museum-quality displays and public outreach

 9) create a research/display museum

10) organize the annual Archaeology Discovery Weekend in mid-November for lectures, displays, campus digs, hands-on lab activities, all focused annually on a different region of the ancient world

11) provide events and hospitality through use of the Bedouin Tent during Homecoming events and other occasions

12) create opportunities for students interested in archaeology to participate

13) raise funds for a variety of archaeological endeavors

14) encourage elementary and secondary school students to think about archaeology through Archaeology Adventures

15) continue developing collaborative relationships with other centers like the growing affiliation with The Getty Villa and  the University of California, San Diego


For some additional information of the Tall


Take a look at      The Fire Signals of Lachish by David Ussishking


And    Umayri  part of the Madaba plan Project

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Glass on the James River, and on Mojave River. Creating a simulated archaeology site.


The site creation crew with the new features

Glass was the first manufacturing industry in the English speaking American Colonies. One of our simulated archaeology sites, at the Lewis Center for Educational Research is based on this effort.

In 1608, the Jamestown colony tried to make glass using “Dutchman” (German/Polish) craftsman at “Glass Point” a mile north of the James Fort.  In 1609 Jamestown entered the “Starving Time” and the Glass Point operation was curtailed.  Indications of an additional glass making site has been discovered in the James Fort itself. (LaFeaver)  It is not known if it predates the Glass Point site.  Perhaps because of the “Starving Time” and attacks by the Powhatan tribe, the glass making was brought into the protection of the fort.   Another effort to make glass was done from 1621 to 1624, this time with Italian glass makers.  They rebuilt the works at Glass Point.


An artist conception of the Glass Point Glassworks based on archaeological research. (interpretive sign at Colonial National Park)

In 1931 the owner of Glass Point was Jesse Dimmick. He did some excavation when he discovered glass slag on the surface. The National Park Service bought the land in 1949 and brought in J. C. Harrington to excavate the site.  The features on our site as based on information and illustrations in his booklet,  A Tryal of Glass, a revision of his booklet Glassmaking at Jamestown, (Harrington, 1972, 1952)



Harrington estimates that the glass house was 50 ft by 37ft and contained a “Clay Pit,” Cullet Pile (glass making waste), a Working Furnace, Pot Kiln and Annealing Oven.”  Our site is 10 meters by 6 meters (approx. 32ft 6in by 19ft 6in), so we reduced the portions of each feature to fit in our site. In 2007, we built the “Jamestown” site with a reproduction of the Working Furnace.  Like the original we made it with 3ft + thick walls.  This did not to work well with the students coming to the site.  The resulting one by one meter unit made up entirely of rocks proved overwhelming to them.  So the Scouts’ first task was to remove about a foot of thickness from each of the Furnace walls and reduce the height by one course of rocks.  A major improvement in this feature was paving the melting and stoking chamber, which ran though the middle of the furnace. It was chinked with small pieces of glass slag. When completed, the floor of the chamber was covered with ash and charcoal, as indicated by Harrington.

Like the “Working Furnace,” the Pot Furnace and Annealing Oven’s remains where replicated about 20 percent smaller than the originals.   All of the original features had rocks “mortared” with clay that was baked from the heat of the firings.   We did not a have clay source so our simulated site has to sufficewith dry stack rock alignments.

Before the site is covered and ready to use a cutllet pile and artifact reproduction from the Association for Virginia Antiquities and the Eastern National Association will be added to the site

Both our sites, at the LewisCenter are located in the MojaveRiverNarrows flood basin in Apple ValleyCA,




 Harrington, J. C. Glassmaking at Jamestown, Glass Crafts of America, 1952

                             A Tryal of Glasse, The Dietz Press, Richmond Press, 1972


LaFeaver, Gregory.  “A Tryal of Glass,  Viewed July 7, 2012




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