Be an Archaeologist is an online interactive that lets you get an understanding of the job of an archaeologist. To begin this interactive, you should reassemble a pile of pot shards that has just come in from the field. The trick to reassembling the pot to its former glory is that it is possible that not all the pieces you need are there, AND, perhaps some of the shards in the pile don't belong to this pot. Once you assemble the pot correctly, the activity will congratulate you and tell you to select the “I’m done” icon. If, however, you think you have assembled it correctly and select the “I’m done” icon and it’s not correct, the activity will tell you to try again. Once you have completed the activity successfully, the next screen will tell you a little more about the job of archaeologists.
This site is a great resource for students to learn more about the job of an archaeologist. Students will learn that these people work both in the field and back at the office. In the field, they find clay items and also other ancient objects of stone, wood, bone, metal, and other durable materials when they are on a dig. In the office, these items—particularly the items used in daily life and special ceremonies—become the archaeological record through which we get a glimpse into the cultures that have come before us. Items that need to be pieced back together are just the beginning step to an archaeologist's job. As students probably figured out, during the process of putting items back together, not all the pieces are necessarily found. Once an item is put back together as best as can be accomplished, the next step is to figure out how it was used or what it meant to the people who owned it.
Information on this site can be tied to topics in history, technology, and chemistry. There is a link that touches on the chemistry of clay, titled “The Dirt on Clay.” Have students select an area (history, technology, or chemistry) and tie it to some aspect of archeology. Approve the area they are interested in (e.g., "What chemical transformations occur to clay pots once they are fired?", "How did an archaeological find in a certain era affect technology in the next decade?") and have them write an essay on this subject.