Archaeology Big Digs

Summertime is a great time to enjoy being outside, with so many fun things to do and warm sunshine, green grass and dirt! Do you like to have fun playing in the dirt? Maybe you like to dig with a small shovel. What kinds of things do you find when you dig? Maybe when you grow up, you could study archaeology and be an archaeologist.

connections_img_3How do things get buried so deep underground? As time passes, they just get covered up deeper and deeper. How do archaeologists know where and what to study? Archaeologists conduct many hours of studying and researching books, maps and the Internet to gain information.

• Archaeologists learn how ancient people lived long ago by studying the artifacts they find.
• They can gather information to learn about their culture, their appearances and what tools they used.
• Since limited written records to read about prehistoric civilizations exist, artifacts may be some of the only clues used to gather information to study the past.

How would you like to find thousands of clay soldiers? Well, that’s just what some workers who were digging a well discovered in 1974. The soldiers were deep underground in corridors. They were very life-like in appearance and in standing position. They were also placed according to their rankings. Archaeologists also discovered weapons like arrows and swords. They also found chariots made of wood with clay horses. Why were these soldiers there? Archaeologists learned that they were buried there along with China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, to guard him. This discovery is known as one of the greatest archaeological findings in the world.

Another amazing discovery is the Newport ship. In June 2002, this sailing vessel was found by archaeologists at Newport, South Wales, in the UK on the bank of the River Usk. Construction of the Riverfront Theatre was taking place when the ship was discovered. The entire length of the ship was originally 25 meters (about 80 feet). Damage to the ship may be the reason it was brought to Newport and abandoned. What was found on the ship? Hundreds of things were found: a stone cannonball, pieces of cork, Portuguese coins, an hourglass, grape seeds and an expensive shoe. Experts think that the cork, coins and seeds may have been present on the ship because of trade to and from the Iberian peninsula.

ar·chae·ol·o·gy
noun är-k-ä-l-j – a science that deals with past human life and activities by studying the bones, tools, etc., of ancient people

ar·chae·ol·o·gist
noun är-k-ä-l-jist – a scientist who studies the remains of past civilizations or groups of people; a specialist in archaeology

Did You Know?
Sometimes people who aren’t archaeologists make discoveries without even intending to. As house builders are digging to build houses, they have to dig deep in the ground and sometimes find things. Farmers also make accidental discoveries while working.

They can then contact archaeologists for help.
SOURCES: http://idahoptv.org/dialogue4kids/season7/archaeology/facts.cfm http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/archaeology/emperor-qin/, http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/li/List_of_famous_archaeological_discoveries, www.newport.gov.uk/heritage/index.cfm/home/

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