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Stratford Landing Holds Archeological Dig

Teams unearth artifacts from student-created civilizations.

Fifth graders at Stratford Landing Elementary School got their hands dirty last week — and it was all with the blessing of their teachers. The students took place in “DIG,” a simulation of the archaeological reconstruction of a vanished civilization.

“They made up a culture and then created artifacts for that culture,” said Nancy Funk, one of three fifth-grade gifted and talented teachers at Stratford. “They had to make 10 things for each civilization and then bury them. Another group then excavates and decides what the artifacts say about the culture.”

Funk said that she and the other two teachers, Dan Zachary and Lisa Gallagher, found out about this program at a training program for teachers of gifted and talented students and decided to try it.

“We started the simulation program in October, studying and developing cultures. This is the culmination,” Funk said.

They will also hold a Museum Night, so that students can show off their artifacts.

DURING THE DIG, students worked in groups, excavating, measuring, cleaning and analyzing. One group decided to keep it clean and buried their artifacts in newspaper instead of dirt. The others used a more traditional ‘dig,’ using oversized boxes filled halfway with dirt. Just like in an actual dig, students cordoned off sections with string to indicate the area they were working in. Students enjoyed unearthing the various artifacts.

The workbook used for the program states: “By the time you have finished participating in 'Dig,' you will have lived with the intricacies of human culture. You will have gained first-hand knowledge of how people past and present have shaped their beliefs and behavior in the face of universal human problems and needs. You will have a new respect and admiration for individuals who think creatively, a thinking process we must maintain if we are to have a truly democratic and open society.”