Category Archives: Engaged Archaeology Project

Archaeology Movie Night: Engaged Archaeology Project

I did my engaged archaeology project as a blog reviewing how archaeology and archaeologist are portrayed in movies. Films are a major way the public engages in almost everything and I thought it would be great if when people are searching the internet for a list of archaeology movies to watch that they have an honest understanding of the movies that so often show up on searches. If possible I also thought it was be great to find movies that a young archaeologist could enjoy. As a psych major I enjoy sitting back and watching a movie about psychology and I thought archaeology students would feel the same way. I also explored how pseudoarchealolgy is portrayed in film and how close to the theories the film maker stays.

To help me with this project I had my boyfriend pick out what movies we would be watching for two reasons. The firstly that archaeology movies would be taking over our movie nights for the next several weeks so I thought I would let him at least pick what we would watch. Importantly though, he would provide a non-archeaology student perspective on what is an “archaeology movie.” In the blog I reviewed The Mummy, Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, and Disney’s Atlantis.

After doing this project I became even more aware that not only are archaeologist portrayed poorly in movies but people have misconceptions of what is an archaeology movie. Not all cases are that Hollywood has done a bad job, there are movies were the protagonist never claims to be an archaeologist but people seem to think if there are ancient artifacts or tombs involved in the film then it must be about archaeology. In this project I sort of felt like I was saying the same things a number of times for each movie but each movie had similar problems. I also could not delve deeply into aspects of archaeology because the movies were so far from being actually about archaeology that I had to address that they almost always did not even have an archaeological spirit to them. All in all I enjoyed doing this project and I hope that actual people on the internet find my blog post. To check it out, see the link below.


My engaged archaeology project

So for my project, I created a website that could inform the public about archaeology . In order to do that, I decided to create a quiz that is on the website. Visitors of the website can take the short quiz about a few fact and myths of archaeology. This quiz also includes instant  feedback with every question. The quiz questions were comprised of questions such as , Archaeology is a science, Truth or Myth; Archaeologists dig bones for a living Truth or Myth and many more. After the quiz I created tabs of what I think are the five most famous and significant archaeological finds of all time. These include the discovery of King  Tutankhamen’s tomb, the discovery of the Altamira Caves and the Olduvai Gorge, as well the discovery of the skeletons with metastatic cancer and atherosclerosis by the students in Durham University. I realize the last two are not a famous but I used those two articles for my blog during the semester and I think that those discoveries are of huge significance to both the medical and archaeological community. So the actual process of creating a website was a brutal one. I mentioned in my proposal that I knew  nothing about making a website and boy was I right. See  the format in which I wanted the website, with the interactive quiz could not be created using the website temples that and google.sites provides for you. It apparently needed to written using Java code. Since I have no clue how that works, I had to enlist a friend who was thankfully a computer science major. He showed me how to write the code, how to upload it and so on. I do not what I would have done without his help. Well the website is up and here is the LINK: Please check it out and let me know what you think.


Engaged Archaeology Project

For my Engaged Archaeology project, I made a card game intended to teach the public about archaeology. After hearing some of your feedback on my pitch, I refined the design of the game in order to find a balance between the educational aspect of the game, as well as the “fun” of the game.

Unfortunately I was not able to complete the card game, so I could not test it. I still have 38 cards to make, and I just did not have the time to design them and make the art for them. It would have been nice having another person helping out with the art. I do plan to finish the cards over the summer though. Then I will be able to play-test the game, and refine the design even further. As of now, I think that the design of the game is great! It follows the 3 phases involved in excavation, and I applied everything I learned from the class to the game. However, the design could be flawed becasue I have not play-tested.

In order to win the game, you either have to have the most points out of everyone, or you have to collect all 10 artifacts from the same class. There are 4 classes of artifacts in the game containing 10 cards each. Each artifact has a certain amount of points that add to your score.

I also included some pretty funny cards like the Pseudo-archaeologist’s Device. This card allows you to steal an artifact from another player, and blame it on aliens! I also created a card called Mr. Bull. When a player draws this card, they are ran over by a bull, and all of their technology breaks.

This project was very fun and exciting for me becasue I was able to apply my passion for game development to the project. I think that once finished, my card game will be able to teach the public a little bit about archaeology, and clear up any misconceptions they may have.

Engaged Archaeology Project

For my engaged archaeology project, I chose to create a website, with the intention of teaching fellow college students about archaeology.  My website consists of a pre-quiz to test prior knowledge, a section with some basic facts and terms, a section which discusses sub-disciplines of archaeology, as well as a section that gives more information about how to get involved with archaeology.

Hopefully my website will inspire other students to learn more about archaeology.  Due to the fact that most college students (I would imagine) are not required to take an archaeology course, it would be great if more people were interested in archaeology.

I originally was unsure what to do with my website, and having no prior experience with designing websites, I was a little unsure if I would be able to design a decent website.  Luckily, I found a website that makes designing your own website relatively simple, with no programming experience required (  I was pleasantly surprised with how my website turned out, considering that I had never done this before.

One issue that I ran into with my website, was when I tried looking for archaeological sites in the great lakes region.  I originally intended for my website’s “get involved” section to include sites that people could visit in the great lakes region.  Since these sites were difficult to find, I decided to just limit my “get involved” section to general info about getting involved with archaeology, that could apply anywhere, not just in the great lakes region.

I decided to keep the content on my site at a basic level, because I’m assuming that most people will not want to spend a bunch of time reading through a long list of very detailed explanations.  Hopefully, by keeping my content simple, yet interesting, my site will be able to hold the audience’s attention, and achieve the goal of this project: to engage the public and teach them a little more about archaeology.

Link to my site:

Engaged Archaeology Project

For my engaged archaeology project, I decided to research and write a newspaper article on archaeology in LaPorte County, Indiana, which is where I call home.  Although I knew going into this project that a quick Google search just wasn’t going to cut it, I assumed that a trip to the LaPorte County Historical Society would be able to provide me with enough information to compose an intelligent and informative article about LaPorte County archaeology.  Not quite.

The Historical Society museum had a corner of their main display room dedicated to Native American artifacts–some found in LaPorte County, some found elsewhere in the United States, and some replicated for use as display objects.  Many of the artifacts specific to LaPorte County had been donated by amateur collectors, so there was little to no contextual information available for them.  The Historical Society staff were extremely helpful and brought out information from their archives that had been tagged “archaeology”–this mostly consisted of old newspaper articles, many of which referenced a man named Warren Ransburg, who surveyed and excavated mound sites.  The fact that my home county had mound sites was completely surprising–I had lived there for 20 years and yet never heard of mound sites in the area.  I decided to use Warren Ransburg’s work as the basis of my article, because it was honestly the best I could find–but the work was more than a hundred years old (Ransburg’s main work was published in 1880), and Ransburg still held to the hypothesis of a displaced Aztec or Mayan society coming north to construct the mounds.  I was holding out for something more recent and accurate.

I used some of the online archaeological databases mentioned in class to do a search on the area; lots of surveys turned up, but it seemed that most were basic pre-construction surveys, and none had any useful information attached.  Finally, in a randomly successful online search, I came across a doctoral thesis (published in 2009) that an archaeologist had written about the Middle Woodland culture of the Kankakee River Valley (which encompasses the southern portion of LaPorte County).  It was like striking gold.  I am immensely thankful to William Mangold, who wrote that thesis.  He saved my project!

As it turns out, LaPorte County was the center of the Goodall tradition, a Havana Hopewell culture of the Middle Woodland period.  The tradition is actually named after a farm in LaPorte County, where the largest complex of Goodall mounds is found.  The excess of copper found there (which had to have come from the north) may indicate that it was a trading center of sorts between the Great Lakes and areas further south.  (LaPorte County is at the southern tip of Lake Michigan.)

At this point, I had so much relevant information that I didn’t know how to construct an engaging newspaper article out of it–I wanted to convey the history of LaPorte County while also teaching archaeological bases, all while staying within a reasonable word count.  It took me a few tries, but I’m pretty pleased with the outcome, as was the editor of “What’s New LaPorte?”, an online newspaper for LaPorte County.  My article was published online this morning (Wednesday, April 30) as the lead story.  You can check is out at this link:

Engaged Archaeology Project – Post mortem

For my Engaged Archaeology Project, I made a booklet containing info-sheets of the top archaeological finds of all time.  I stuck loyally to my original plan in terms of format, but I did end up changing the subsections a bit.  As I wanted to make the info-sheets friendly for both children and adults alike, I was faced with the dilemma of how I was going to word all of my information.  I decided on a mixture of simple sentences and bullet points to make the sections seem less daunting to read, and more appealing for younger people as well.  I also focused on finding attention-grabbing pictures that properly showed-off the sites / material culture I was introducing.  I ended up having only two subsections though: “Background information” and “Archaeological aspects.”  I decided to combine the “Importance” section I had previously planned on with the “Archaeological aspects” section because they seemed to go hand in hand quite nicely, and I did not want to break up my info-sheet any more than it had to.  I chose an, in my opinion, aesthetically pleasing template to put my information on.

I did run into some logistical issues of space, and sometimes finding more information on certain topics.  I sometimes had a hard time finding archaeological information on the Dead scrolls, for example.  Some of these top finds were discovered by “normal” people who were going about daily life at the time of discovery.  Therefore, the details are sometimes a bit vague or the dates are disputed as to the true time of discovery and the circumstances of it.

In the end, I decided to have it professionally printed because of my distrust in my own printer.  I also wanted it to be bound in the “clamp” form so that there is still room for addition to the booklet when new discoveries come along.  Since my “newest” top archaeological find was found a mere 5 years ago, there is still a great chance in additions being made to my booklet!

Unfortunately, when I tried to upload my documents, I was told my files are too large to upload… Sorry!


Engaged Archaeology Project

For my engaged archaeology project I made my own blog essentially. My initial plan was to make a website on Weebly, but my computer was not working with the software of the website so I decided to make a Tumblr instead. My focus was on Ireland but I also included archaeological basics. The reason I chose Ireland was because I have always wanted to go there and so I figured it would be fun to learn about, and that is exactly what it was. I focused on attracting the viewer who in this case would generally be college students. I came up with this idea because I have heard quite a few of my fellow undergrads going abroad to study in Ireland, and my manager is going there this summer. The format of the website is more of a blog layout because that seems to be the easiest to navigate. There are a number of articles and links to access from the website, one of the main ones being The National Museum of Ireland.

Although my plan to have a home page and different selections of tabs like history did not work out like I had hoped, I believe it is still an effective way to engage the public. I included a number of facts about the history of Ireland in archaeological contexts as well as the most recent Top 10 Archaeological finds in Ireland. My website is based on archaeology in Ireland but to give it some character and add some fun I added trivia. Many people traveling around Ireland may enjoy learning the requirements to give blood or the name the Romans gave to Ireland initially. Further, I included some famous Irish archaeologists because they are important in the development of archaeology in Ireland. Also, I added the website to my social media networks to give those interested easy access to my website.

Engaged Archaeology

My engaged archaeology project was a newsletter, the beginning of the letter explained the importance of archaeology and what archaeology is and what it is not. I focused a lot on explaining material culture and how it helps us understand the human past. I gave examples of material culture and how our world is full of different types of material culture. Some that are tangible like mounds, tombs, physical remains of foods, and others that are intangible like the art of dance. I also discussed the context and the importance of an item remaining in its context and how that helps archaeologist and the general public understand people, society and culture.

My next page was about captivating archaeological sites. I thought it was important for the public to understand how fascinating archaeological sites actually is. When most people think of archaeology they think about just artifacts. They don’t think about the meaning of the artifacts and what actually happened to those artifacts. I started by discussing the Man E, also known as the screaming mummy. The screaming mummy is one of the most mysterious discoveries. I read through a variety of sources the conditions that caused the man’s death. All the finds I read were not conclusive. This helped me question how knowable the past really is, which I also discussed in my paper. Another discovery I found was the tomb of Qui Shi Huang. The tomb was actually discovered by farmers and archaeologist have been excavating the site ever since. To make this page a little more engaging, I asked the question, “Do you think the emperor’s actual resting place should be opened? Would that cause tension between religious groups and archaeologists”? I wanted whoever reading to answer critical questions as they read.

Then I discussed the Holy City of Teotihuacan and it’s artistic influence and cultural expansion. I examined the Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. I asked the question after the discussion of Teotihuacan, “from the information provided what have we learned about Teotihuacan and the civilizations influence throughout Central America. Lastly, I discussed the illicit trade of artifacts and how this lucrative trade hurts the study of archaeology.

I enjoyed the project because it showed my artistic side and it also incorporated my major, international relations.

Final Blog!

When I initially wrote out my project proposal, I was planning on making an interactive website to reach out to the public. I also included a backup plan to make a Tumblr blog for the project. In the end, I decided to go with my Tumblr plan. The goal of my project was to engage college aged students with archaeology in a way that held their interest (including my own.)

The reason I chose to create my own Tumblr blog is because it is a beginner friendly site. My computer skills are definitely not proficient, so Tumblr was the perfect medium for me to promote archaeology. There are preset designs to customize your blog and the method for posting any desirable media was pretty dummy proof. I had an easy time manipulating the site, which allowed me to focus on the content of the project. Also, Tumblr is a great way to engage with my target age group. I know that Tumblr is a very popular website used among high school students and college students. So, it only made sense to post my thoughts on a site that college students were already using instead of creating a separate site that most likely won’t attract as much attention. I also figured that Tumblr would be an easy way to share news stories, since reblogging can be done at the touch of a button.

To accomplish my project goals, I posted memes, blog posts, and reblogged news articles. I also created a quiz as a prelude to the world of archaeology. I especially loved posting memes on the blog because it is a quick and fun way to send a message to the public. Plus, memes do a fantastic job bringing attention to my blog. I found some great memes that debunk common misconceptions with archaeology and add variety to my blog. I also did a few blog entries. The blog entries were a way for me to explore a couple of subjects I was curious about. Blogging allowed me to personally connect with archaeology. Hopefully, my personal accounts will help my target audience connect with archaeology. I wrote about underwater archaeology, the catacombs of Paris and the Terracotta soldiers in China. I also wanted to post archaeology news through my Tumblr, which is why I reblogged news articles. By posting current events, hopefully, my target audience will see how important archaeology is today. Lastly, I created a quiz. The point of the quiz is to provide a way to test the knowledge of the visitor of the site and hopefully get rid of the common myths of archaeology. I also included a few tricky questions for the archaeologists who would visit my blog.

Initially, I had trouble setting the tone for my blog. Did I want it to be super structured or was there another way to go about the project? But I eventually asked myself what would I like to learn about. I would have included more quizzes, but they were pain to create. The generator online was easy to use, but it was difficult to come up with questions and answers (and making sure that they were well worded.) How professors and teachers do it beats me. I also found it difficult to write blog posts that people would want to read. In the end, my posts may be kind of long for the casual reader with initially no interest in archaeology.

Overall, I actually enjoyed doing this atypical project. I was able to have fun with this project and I felt that I was able to connect with the material better. Hopefully, my page will attract a few followers!




Engaged Archaeology Project

We generated an online survey for our Engaged Archaeology Project which contains 10 questions related basic knowledge about archaeology like: what is archaeology? There will be 4 or 5 options like: A. study dinosaurs, B study ancient artifacts, C study human society, D I have no idea. And then let them to choose the most appropriate option to answer the questions. These 10 questions cover the basic goal of archaeology, importance of archaeology, most used tool, what archaeologists do, and which category does archaeology belong to. Generally speaking, the survey only cover the most fundamental knowledge of archaeology, and we want to test to what extent public know about archaeology in this survey.


Our target populations are college students which we assumed they have relatively better educational background when compared with majority of total population. Unfortunately, at the end of the survey, we only received 36 reliable responses which less than our expect size, and in my opinion, it could be regarded as a small sample size in total population which means the marginal error of the survey is large. However, we still can abstract several pieces useful information from the survey. Firstly, almost half of people believe that archaeology belongs to sociology instead of anthropology. I think that archaeology usually regarded as an independent subject and they are confused when they know it belongs to anthropology. Archaeologists should emphasize that archaeology is a subfield of anthropology in latter public education. Secondly, few people know that trowels play vital role in excavation. In addition, they assumed shovels are essential during excavation, this question is a little trick and I cannot say they know little about excavation but I take some responsibilities to tell them something about archaeology if they are interested in it. Finally, some harbor the idea that only archaeologists can find archaeological sites, which I believe that lack of general education of archaeology result in the situation. From the survey, we can see that publics have basic understanding of archaeology though they are not familiar with some specific details. Due to our target population, I may hold the idea that general public are comparatively less educated in archaeology compared with modern college students.


From my own perspective, I believe that general people still lack of public education in archaeology when compared with other scholar subjects. And it may also explain why some prefer pseudoarchaeology to some extent. For people who is not interested in archaeology, they even cannot distinguish archaeology from paleontology. When I asked some of my friends after they took the survey, they said that they are interested in past culture but they can only gather information on history channel or other internet resources, unfortunately, we also see that history channel show pseudoarchaeology about Mayan. Furthermore, they rarely go to some public archaeological lectures because they hardly heard of it on campus. I would recommend that our archaeology major professors and students could develop more public lectures and other forms of information technologies to provide a better access for students and publics, it will become popular if the materials are interesting since people generally interested in human past.