What can we learn about people from what they leave behind?
Archaeologists and scholars interested in past cultures sometimes cannot just turn to a book to
learn about them. They often need to act as detectives and investigate what those people leave
behind. Everyone leaves a trace and clues to who they were and what their lives were like.
Archaeologists look at what people leave behind and draw conclusions about the people and their
Directions: Your group has been given a bag of artifacts. Pull the artifacts out of the bag and
try to draw some conclusions about the person who may have left this bag behind. Answer the
following questions based on what you found in your bag. Please justify each answer by
providing the reasons why you made the decisions you did.
1. What type of job might this person have had? What artifacts led you to this decision?
2. How old do think this person may have been? How can you tell?
3. What type of recreation did this person enjoy?
4. What can we tell about this person’s diet?
5. Do we know anything about the person’s hygiene? How well did they take care of
themselves… how do you know?
6. What was one thing that may have been important to this person? How can we tell?
7. On the back of this paper draw a picture of what this person may have looked like. Try to
imagine what they would be doing on a typical day.