Category Archives: Engaged Archaeology Proposal

Engaged Archaeological Proposal

Engaged Archaeological Proposal


For this assignment, I plan on designing a card game that teaches the public about the field of Archaeology, but is also fun and engaging.  I chose to do a game for this assignment because I personally enjoy designing games, but also because games are very interactive and engaging. My goal for this project is to take advantage of the immersive aspect of games, and pair it with learning. I will have to find the right balance between learning and gameplay to make the players have a good learning experience.


The core of the game will have 3 phases each representing a stage in the archaeology process: The Survey phase, Excavation phase, and Analysis phase.


Survey Phase: Players will draw a card on their turn from the Survey card pile this represents shovel testing. To get past the Survey phase, the player will have to draw a “Find” card. This means that the player has found an artifact, and they are ready to excavate the site around it. However, there will be hazard cards in the survey deck as well.


Types of cards in Survey deck:

  1. “Find”
    1. Allows player to move to Excavation phase
  2. Hazard
    1. Represents environmental hazards
    2. Player will have to skip their next turn
  3. “Nothing”
    1. Player didn’t find anything
  4. Technology
    1. Enhances player’s ability to survey
    2. GPS or Magnetometry are examples


Once the player has obtained a “Find” card, they will move to the excavation phase. In this phase, a player will draw a card from the Excavation deck. In this phase, the player wants to find as many artifacts as possible. Some of the artifacts will be in the same category as one another, and be related. The artifacts are worth a certain amount of points depending on how much information the artifact displays about the past. Players may also find cards that will allow them to steal or trade artifacts to better their score.


Types of cards in Excavation deck:

  1. Artifacts
    1. Artifacts will have their own typology and period they were from
    2. Some worth more than others depending on informational value


  1. Trade/Steal cards
    1. To spice the game up a bit
  2. “Nothing Cards”
    1. Player did not find anything




After Excavation, players will gather their artifacts together and count up their scores. This is also a time to make any last minute steals! Players will be given a score bonus if they have objects of the same typology or time period. The player with the highest score wins.


The gameplay has not been completely fleshed out, so I am very open to change. I may add a board to the game to represent the “grid” in which the players are digging in. Each square of the grid can only be excavated 3 times, and some of the grid spaces may contain environmental hazards.


One thing I am concerned about is the trade and steal mechanic. It doesn’t represent the field of archaeology too well, and it is not a part of the archaeological process. However, I do think that it will add a fun mechanic to the game and will be overall beneficial. That is if I do it correctly.

Engaged Archaeology Project Proposal

I thought making a website was very difficult when it was assigned for my biology class but I learned that making a simple website can be done without a ton of technical knowledge. So when I was trying to come up with a project for this assignment I thought it would be cool to try that again. I plan on making a website that explains archaeology to the general public as well as those more educated in other fields, especially other sciences. I plan to include several sections including: general information, history of archaeology, common misconceptions, public role in archaeology, technology in archaeology, archaeology as a science, and archaeology in the future.

The general information section of the website will be the home page and the page I will share the link to when I display the website to the public. It will have general information about archaeology as well as link to the other part of the website. I plan to include pictures of archaeological sites as the background. Examples of the general information I will include are the general definition of archaeology, and the basic methodology.

The history of archaeology page will include several of the key people in archaeology and their contributions to the field as well as some of the most important and influential discoveries and publications.

For the common misconceptions page I plan to explain several common misconceptions about archaeology and correct them by explaining what archaeologists really do. For example I will state the misconception that archaeologist study dinosaur bones and then proceed to explain that they do not as dinosaurs are not part of human culture. I will also explain that archaeologists do study skeletons of human remains and also skeletal remains of other animals that are connected to human culture such as bones with evidence of being hunted for human consumption.

For the page on the public role in archaeology I will explain how the general public is often involved in archaeology such as farmers who discover artifacts in their field and then work with archaeologists to conduct a survey and excavation.  I will also provide information about what someone should do if they find something they think may be an artifact.

For technology and archaeology I will explain how archaeology has changed with the development of new technology. I will also explain the basic science behind some of the technology and how it is used. I may even display images of what the technology provides archaeologists.

For the archaeology as a science I will explain how archaeology is a science and how it follows the same scientific method as other sciences. I will also explain how it differs from other sciences in that it cannot be repeated as it is destructive. I will also explain how other sciences play a role in archaeology such as chemistry with dating of artifacts and biology in the analysis of DNA.

For archaeology in the future I will counter the idea that archaeologist will run out of sites to excavate and explain how often times sites are only partially excavated to allow for re-excavation in the future with improved technology.

Once the website is completed I plan to share it with other students at MSU through social media and encourage others to view and share the website to help spread the knowledge of archaeology to as much of the public as I can.

Engaged Arch. Proposal: Local Newspaper Article

For my engaged archaeology project, I will be putting together a newspaper article on archaeology in LaPorte County, Indiana (my home!).  This article will be focusing on local archaeological sites, artifacts, and features, in a way that is interesting and understandable to the general public.  The purpose will be to introduce archaeology and the basics concept thereof, using information in a local context to keep readers engaged and interested.

The first step of my engaged archaeology project will be researching the sites, artifacts, and features of LaPorte County, Indiana.  An internet search for relevant information turns up nothing (besides a shipwreck site in Lake Michigan that I had never heard of, despite having grown up in the area), so my initial research will involve soliciting information via email from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’s Historic Preservation & Archaeology department, as well as from the LaPorte County Historical Society.  The LaPorte County Historical Society will be particularly valuable, as their museum includes material culture from the local area.  Hopefully, additional resources will crop up during my research, possibly in the form of local records at the historical society or the local public library.  I would ideally like to explore archaeological information about a variety of different time periods–from prehistoric stone tools to much more recent shipwrecks.

The second step of my engaged archaeology project will be synthesizing my gathered information into an eye-catching and readable format that would be appropriate for a published newspaper.  Photographs (taken by myself) of county artifacts/collections and records will be included in the finished product.  The length of the final product will depend on the amount of information available regarding archaeology in LaPorte County.  The worst-case scenario would result in a single article, perhaps 800 words.  However, if enough information is available and the news outlet is interested, I would like to extend the article into a short series.

Of course, the ultimate goal of this project is to actually publish my final material in the local newspaper, so that the public can indeed be “engaged” with archaeology.  Some aspects, then, such as final word count and which pictures will be published, are dependent on the preferences of the newspaper people.  (Correspondence with the appropriate newspaper staff members is in progress to explore the actual feasibility of publication, but I’m confident that one of the local news outlets will be willing to publish my project.)

Through my project, I hope to spread awareness of what archaeology really is and what it can look like in real communities.  I hope to dispel “Indiana Jones” stereotypes and the idea that archaeology is only done in far-off exotic locales.  I hope to encourage interest in archaeology, as well as in the ancient and not-so-ancient history of LaPorte County, Indiana.  I want to communicate to the everyday citizens of LaPorte County that there is more to our small town than corn and soybean fields–there’s a fascinating historical narrative, and even more exciting is that there’s a field of study that has engaged with our fascinating historical narrative as told through material culture.