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.
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 Glossary—127 Web Sites to Explore—131 Bibliography—133 Photo Credits—137 Index—139 Description 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. Excerpt 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. Reviews “Kids will dig . . . this book.”
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