Archaeology for Kids by P-IndependentPublish


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									Archaeology for Kids
For Kids series

Author: Richard Panchyk

Age Group: 9 and up
Table of Contents

How Archaeology Works—1
The First People—15
The Ice Age and the New Stone Age—29
The First Civilizations—47
Greece and Rome—67
The New World—85
Historical Archaeology—101
Web Sites to Explore—131
Photo Credits—137

This activity book features 25 projects such as making a surface survey of a site, building a screen for
sifting dirt and debris at a dig, tracking soil age by color, and counting tree rings to date a find, teaches
kids the techniques that unearthed Neanderthal caves, Tutankhamun’s tomb, the city of Pompeii, and
Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec empire. Kids will delight in fashioning a stone-age tool, playing a
seriation game with old photographs of cars, “reading” objects excavated in their own backyards, and
using patent numbers to date modern artifacts as they gain an overview of human history and the science
that brings it back to life.

Roughly two and a half million years ago, somewhere
on the sunny African savannah, 63 million years after the last of the dinosaurs died, a short, hairy apelike
creature standing on two legs picked up a large stone and intentionally struck it against another stone. A
piece flew off, giving what was once a dull, round rock a sharp edge.The creature realized that with a
piece broken off, the stone would make a better tool, perhaps to cut a branch from a bush or dig up roots
to eat. Imagine the sound of the fist-sized rock as it hit the second rock. While creatures like these had
been using sticks and rocks as tools for thousands, maybe millions of years already, this was the first
time one of them modified a rock to make it more useful. This smart creature was pleased the trick
worked, and remembered it for the next time he had to cut something. He realized he could strike the
rock two or three times to make even sharper edges.The first time one rock struck another, everything
changed. The creature now had an advantage over all the other creatures on the great plains of Africa. He
could not only use tools, he could make tools. When he whacked that rock for
the first time, another exciting thing happened. Archaeology was made possible. The creature had just
created an artifact, an item modified and used by humans or humanlike creatures.There were many
apelike animals roaming the earth before the first tools were used. Ramapithecus existed 14 million years
ago. Australopithecus, from Latin, meaning “Southern Apes,”
appeared almost 5 million years ago. These creatures walked upright on two legs at least some of the
time, but most likely did not make tools yet. Raymond Dart made the first discovery of Australopithecus
in Taung, South Africa, during the 1920s. The bones Dart found were of a five-yearold child, which he
claimed was a possible ancestor of modern humans. Dart was ridiculed and the discovery of “Dart’s
Child,” as it became known, was dismissed by some scientists. Similar discoveries were made in the
following years, however, and scientists could no longer deny the similarities between humans and these
ancient creatures.Finally, in the Afar region of Ethiopia in the 1970s, archaeologist Donald Johanson
discovered a spectacular skeleton of an Australopithecus,
which he nicknamed Lucy. Though only 40 percent of its bones were found, it was the most complete
Australopithecus skeleton ever found. Johanson could tell a great deal about Lucy and her species from
those bones. In fact, he even wrote a whole book just about Lucy!Meanwhile, the Leakey family was
making great discoveries of Australopithecines in a part of Tanzania called the Olduvai Gorge. This gorge
was created by a fault in the earth and exposed many layers of rock and earth going back 2 million
years. In excavating these layers, the Leakeys exposed what they called “living floors” where they found
Australopithecus bones. We have
learned that these nomadic (this means they roamed around and slept in different places, wherever food
was most available), humanlike animals were around for millions of years before another, more advanced
creature appeared.New discoveries are still being made, and the recent announcement of a new species
and genus of creatures has shown that we still have much to learn about the human family tree.
Kenyanthropus platyops dates to 3.6 million years ago and was first discovered in 1998 in Kenya by a
team led by Meave Leakey. Tests have shown Kenyanthropus to be different from Australopithecus,with a
much flatter face.
Author Bio
Richard Panchyk
Richard Panchyk is coauthor of Engineering the City. He holds a master’s degree in anthropology and
has taught college-level archaeology. He lives on Long Island in New York.

“Kids will dig . . . this book.”

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