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What is the job of an archaeologist?

Archaeology is the scientific study of human life by looking at artifacts, at the man-made objects that
people who lived long ago have left behind. Paleontologists are not archaeologists; they study fossils.
Historians are not archaeologists; the mostly study written records. Archaeologists are the scientists
who study artifacts, man-made objects that people have left behind.

Archaeologists are like detectives. By looking at artifacts, they try to figure out how long ago people
lived, how they governed themselves, what art they created, their religious beliefs, their technology,
science, and invention, and their daily life. Clues archaeologists use to answer these and other questions
about past civilizations can sometimes be found in the artifacts they dig up.

While looking for artifacts to study, archaeologists can find themselves in some very dangerous
situations. Archaeologists have explored ruins deep in jungles; dug up remains of villages in dangerous
deserts; and have even searched underwater - but archaeologists are so curious about the past, that they
are willing to brave the dangers of poisonous animals and plants, of unclean conditions, or an
unfriendly political climate, to discover more about human life through the study of artifacts.


Learn interesting facts and information about a range of science jobs and careers.

What is an archaeologist? What do they do as part of their job? Read our job description facts and
information to find out the answers to these questions and more while learning all about archaeology

Archaeologists study human societies that lived in the past through the discovery and analysis of the
things that they left behind, this includes artifacts from millions of years ago right up to things
developed in recent times.

There are no written records for 99% of human history, this is one of the reasons why archaeology is so

Archaeology helps us understand how humans evolved and culture developed.

Archaeologists survey, excavate and analyze data to help us understand the past.

Archaeology is a varied discipline that can involve aspects of art history, classics, physics, chemistry,
geography and other fields.

If you want to become an archaeologist its a good idea study areas such as statistics, geography and

Archaeology has helped us learn how early human societies used fire, stone tools, metals and

Archaeologists have found stone tools in Africa that were created by humans millions of years ago.
The written records of many ancient societies are often biased or misleading due to literature being
limited to the rich and powerful rather than the general population, archaeologists must take this kind
of thing into consideration while researching.

Popular movies such as Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider and The Mummy feature aspects of archaeology.
Being movies however, they tend to oversimplify what can be a painstaking process.

One of the problems archaeologists come across is the looting of artifacts from various archaeological
sites such as tombs and burial grounds.

Fossils & Artifacts

An archaeologist must know the different between an artifact and a fossil. This is very important
because archaeologists do not look for fossils. That's a different science. Archaeologists looks for

Fossils are the remains of living things (plants, animals, people), not of things that were made.

Artifacts are the remains of things that were made, not the remains of living things.

Can you tell the difference between

an artifact and a fossil?
Let's find out!

1. While planting my garden, I found an old bone. Did I find a fossil or an artifact?

2. While exploring the woods near my house, I found an arrowhead. Did I find a fossil or an artifact?

The answer is:

1. A fossil. A bone is the remains of something that was once living.

2. An artifact. An arrowhead is something that was made.


Dating of artifacts is called archaeometry. Archaeologists use different methods of archaeometry.

Sometimes an artifact is easy to date because the date is on it, as we see on most coins. It is also easy to
date an artifact if there are dates in written records mentioning the artifact. Unfortunately, most of the
time dating is harder.

There are two major ways of dating objects. They are relative dating and absolute dating. Relative
dating finds out the age of the object in relation to the age of another object. Relative dating only gives
comparisons, not the actual dates. An example of relative dating is when archaeologists measure the
fluorine content in bones. Fluorine is from underground water. Fluorine eventually replaces other
things that are in bones, so the more fluorine the bones contain the older they are.
Another type of relative dating is stratigraphy. Stratigraphy determines the age of the object relative to
other objects at the site. The deeper down the object is, the older it is, unless the layer of earth is pushed
down in some places.

Absolute dating gives the age of the artifact in years. There are many examples of absolute dating.
Radiocarbon dating is one of the most commonly used forms of archaeometry. Everything alive
absorbs two types of carbon: carbon 12 and carbon 14. Carbon 14 atoms are radioactive and decay at
the same rate no matter what. About half of the carbon 14 atoms disappear every 5,700 years. Carbon
12 atoms do not change. After a living thing dies, the ratio of carbon 14 to carbon 12 decreases at a rate
known by archaeologists. Archaeologists can measure the amount of carbon 14 and carbon 12 in the
formerly living artifact. From this, archaeologists can find out the age of the artifact. The problem with
radiocarbon dating is that the only way to measure carbons 12 and 14 is to destroy part of the artifact.

Because radiocarbon dating only works on artifacts that were once alive, archaeologists use potassium-
argon dating for some rock formations. These rock formations contain radioactive potassium. The
potassium changes into argon at a constant rate. Archaeologists measure the amount of potassium and
argon in the rock to find out the age of the formation.

What is a site?

A "site" is any place an archaeologist wishes to look for remains of a civilization that is buried.
Archaeologists actually dig up the earth. That's why a site is also called a "dig".

There are two kinds of sites - historic and prehistoric. Do you know the difference? Play these games
and you'll figure it out.

Finding a Site

How do archaeologists find sites to explore?

Some artifacts from ancient times have been found by accident, by builders and farmers. But most finds
are the result of a great deal of work and planning.

Famous Sites

Archaeological sites can be found all over the world. Different areas usually contain different types of

The ancient Romans left coins, buildings, and artwork in the countries that were part of the Roman
Empire from England to North Africa.

The ancient Greeks left indications of their civilization throughout the Mediterranean.

In Israel, you can find artifacts from biblical days as well as from the time ancient Rome ruled the
Middle East.
In Egypt, the ancient Pharaohs left the Pyramids as well as temples, burial pits, and stone engravings.

Africa contains the remains of many prehistoric animals and early man.

China contains beautiful artwork and other remnants of great and sophisticated cultures.

North, Central, and South America contain burial grounds, temples, and pottery and weapons of the
civilizations that existed before the Europeans came to the New World.

Archaeology Defined

Archaeology is the study of ancient artifacts, whether they be material remains (e.g., ceramics) or
textual (e.g., the Bible).
Archaeology has very real limitations, chief of which is the destructive nature of time, the elements,
and successive inhabitants of the region who systematically reused building materials and dug pits
through ancient occupation layers.

Archaeology and Interpretation

Once an excavation has begun the findings may not accord with what we consider to be logical and may
require continual reinterpretation. Remember that only the ancients truly understand the logic of their material
remains (emic perspective).

It is inappropriate to assign a function or meaning to an artifact or site just because we think it is likely or
stands to reason (etic perspective).

Interpreting Data
Since archaeology is a destructive science and non-repeatable, we must accept the limitations inherent
to our current scientific methods and our own record keeping.

Archaeology and Interpretation

As we excavate we communicate with the material remains of ancient people. There is a continuous
dialogue in which we interact, starting with a plan and a set of questions, but changing it and them to
meet the realities of what is actually discovered. If we only seek to find what we expect, then that is all
that we will find.
Archaeologists lay out excavation grids and dig square holes in order to determine stratigraphy and
control the flow of data. By design and due to the realities of financing fieldwork, no site is completely
excavated and in most cases only about 10-15% is ever uncovered and analyzed.
It is inappropriate to try to force the biblical narrative to conform to an archaeological model, and it is
equally inappropriate to limit archaeological investigation so that it is forced to conform to the biblical

Excavation Team
Includes the director, area supervisors, square supervisors, and volunteers
It is seldom operates as a democracy.
Obtain the services of an architect and various scientific experts and if possible have them visit the site
and examine the material remains.
Place a person in charge of cleaning, sorting, preparing, and recording the daily finds.

Preparing the Site

Once the excavation plan has been prepared by the Director and senior staff, the first step is to clear the
site of the vegetation that has grown since the last season. This procedure facilitates photography,
makes surface features stand out, and gets the team used to working together in a sometimes difficult

Excavation Methods
Ten or fifteen meter squares are laid out with string and sand bags and initial levels are taken so that the
supervisors will know starting and ending points for each days work and they can determine the exact
depth at which significant finds are made.

Excavation begins by breaking the soil with shovels and picks, but this may quickly turn to finer work
using brushes, ice picks, and trowels when an artifact is discovered or a floor is found signaling the
emergence of a change in stratigraphy.
excavation methods2Excavation Methods
When an important feature or artifact is discovered, a level is taken to determine exact location within
the square.

Excavated soil is screened to uncover bones, carbonized organic matter, small pieces of pottery, or
other objects that might otherwise be missed.
Organic remains are later tested using C14 dating methods.
excavation methods4Excavation Methods
Unusual finds are also photographed in situ to establish a clear provenance and provide as much data as
possible for later interpretation.

All tagged buckets and boxes are taken to the collection supervisor for washing or cleaning with an eye
out for inscriptions (ostraca) or for diagnostic examples that will help establish a ceramic chronology of
the site, indicate possible trading activity, and in the case of coins a clear date for a particular stratum or

Recording Data
All pottery and other artifacts areplaced in tagged buckets or boxes for later examination. The tags
indicate which square and at what level they were found. The recording process in the field will be
systematized in later field reports by the square and area supervisors.

Analyzing Data
At the end of the excavation season, the entire staff completes and submits their field notebooks and the
senior staff spends the next several months analyzing this data while the artifacts are sent to
laboratories for scientific tests and classification.

Excavation Methods
Publication and Presentation of the seasons findings should follow as quickly as possible.
A final report of the excavation of the site over a series of seasons should appear in a timely manner for
the benefit of the scholarly community.
Senior staff should publish articles and present papers on the findings.

Permission to Dig
Archaeologists may suspect an area may be rich with discoveries, but they cannot simply start digging.
An archaeologist cannot dig anywhere he or she wants. They need permission from the owner of the
land. Sometimes, they need permission from the government of a country.
Preparing for a Dig

Archaeological fieldwork is not the romantic treasure hunt sometimes seen in the movies. On the
contrary, archaeology is a blend of scientific disciplines requiring methodological attention to
procedure and detail. Most expeditions are staffed by skilled individuals with specialized knowledge.
You can learn a great deal from the experienced excavators and specialists you will be working with.
And as part of an expedition you will have an opportunity to contribute personally to the recovery and
preservation of our past.

Before You Leave

Before an excavation starts, many countries require that foreign workers receive permission and
clearance, which is usually gained through an antiquities services government agency. Unless the
option is clearly stated, appearing at a site unannounced would be personally irresponsible and might
place the project director in an uncomfortable situation. Once advance contact has been established
with a representative of the expedition team, find out what equipment is necessary, what clothes are the
most sensible for work and leisure time, the general schedule of operations, and what sight-seeing
opportunities will be available.

Read about the local culture and climate, and plan your packing accordingly. It is strongly
recommended to pack as lightly as possible, since space is often limited and transportation may be less
than efficient. As with most travel, you must be able to carry your own luggage. A good test is to limit
yourself to what you can comfortably carry for a brisk quarter-mile walk.

Check into necessary vaccinations and have thorough physical and dental examinations. Identify your
need for health and travel insurance. Some expeditions provide the former; you should know, however,
what facilities will be available in the event that you require medical treatment.

Bring a small medical kit with an assortment of bandages, disinfectants, and ointments. Additional
itemson any experienced travelers listinclude an alarm clock, flashlight and extra batteries,
sunglasses, scarf or work hat, sunscreen, a regional guidebook, reading material, notebooks, pens and
pencils, measuring tape marked in inches and centimeters, and a water bottle. Of course, this is a
general checklist; check with your project director to see if more specific equipment will be needed.

At the Site
The success of an archaeological expedition depends, to a great extent, on the excavation team.
Organization is a key factor in the smooth management of the work schedule, and the field director
must be able to depend upon a responsive and responsible staff. If you have never worked on an
excavation before, do some homework and keep a flexible and cooperative attitude. The former will
ensure that you will have some familiarity with professional archaeology, the material under
investigation, the local culture, and the climate. The latter will certainly make you a better worker and a
more pleasant person to live with under what can sometimes be less-than-ideal circumstances. You,
personally, will find the experience a great deal richer for your efforts.

The director and supervisors will appreciate your questions and your attention to detail and procedure,
and there are a number of "dig life" lessons to learn by word of mouth from others who have had the
experience. If you find that you have time on your hands and wish to make the most of the season, staff
members are usually more than willing to give informal instruction in the different skills required on an
expedition (drafting, recording, etc.).

Try to set up a personal schedule outside of work hours, which will enable you maintain a comfortable
working/sleeping/leisure schedule, as well as a stock of clean clothes. Take the opportunity to keep a
daily journal describing the work you are doing, camp life, your impressions of the local culture, etc.
Months or years later, you will be able to recall the sense of the excavation.

Tools of the Trade

Digging a site takes a great deal of care. Archaeologists must move slowly, to make sure nothing is
damaged and nothing is missed. Remember - archaeologists are not looking for fossils, which might
have harden or captured in rock. Archaeologists are looking for artifacts, or things that are man-made!
Many artifacts are very delicate. For example, they might find a piece of pottery, but not the whole
object. So much care must be taken.

The tools they use are varied. Some tools are very specialized. Others look like the archaeologist has
been gardening. Some of their tools are wheelbarrows, little trowels, brushes, spoons, dust pans, even
dental picks.

A wide range of tools are used at an archaeological site, some of which may be very familiar and others
which are more specialized. Below are images and descriptions of just a few of the types of equipment
you will see if you visit New Philadelphia during the field season!


For archaeology, the trowel is probably the most iconic and most-often used tool. It is the same tool
that masons use to apply mortar to brick walls, though in archaeology it is used to excavate in a unit
when the space no longer allows for the use of a shovel. There is a long-standing (but usually good-
natured) debate in the archaeology community about whether a pointed or square-ended trowel is better.
Opinions vary among the archaeologists at New Philadelphia as well, but it really is all up to the
personal preference of the user!


Shovels, either rounded or squared, are used as the primary excavating tool, most especially in units
where very few or no features or artifacts are discovered. They are used because they allow for more
soil to be moved in a shorter time, as opposed to only ever excavating with trowels. Soil is shoveled
either into buckets (usually 5-gallon size) and then carried to the screen, or is shoveled directly into the
screen itself.


Screens are used to sift the soil that comes from each unit in order to search for and better spot artifacts.
The most common screen varieties are the tripod and box (or personal) screen, both of which are used
at New Philadelphia. Soil is poured into the screen from either a bucket or a shovel, then shaken back
and forth to allow the lighter soil to fall through the screen mesh, while heavier artifacts will stay inside
the screen box.

Handbrooms and dustpans are used while excavating a unit in order to more effeciently move the soil
out. Handbrooms help to keep the "floor" of a unit clean, especially before a photograph is taken of it.
Dustpans help to move soil out of the unit at a faster pace when archaeologists have begun only using
their trowels. Soil can be scraped into the dustpan then dumped into a bucket, instead of moving soil
one trowelful at a time.

Tape Measures

Tape measures are used to make sure that the size of the unit and the depth of each level are as exact as
possible according to our field manual's regulations. They are also used when creating maps of units, as
knowing the distance between artifacts or layers of soil will make the map much more accurrate.

Historical archaeologists use English Standard Measure in their work, either using the typical
denominations (feet and inches) or using what is called engineer's scale (tenths of a foot). This is
different than prehistoric archaeology, which uses the Metric System. Historical archaeologists use
English Standard Measure instead of the Metric System because the people that are being studied used
English Standard Measure when building their homes and creating maps to describe them.

Line Levels/Plumb Bobs

Line levels and plumb bobs are primarily used in mapping features and excavation units. Line levels
are attached to the strings that are used to outline the units and the diagonal string in order to be able to
better measure the depth of each level and any artifacts that may be found. Plumb bobs are used in
conjunction with the measuring tape while mapping in order to provide a precise location for any
feature boundary or artifacts that may be in the walls or floor of a unit.


Film and digital cameras are used at New Philadelphia in order to take official images of the floor and
walls of each level of each excavation unit, artifacts, and occasionally candid shots of the crew.

Transit/Total Station

A transit or total station is a computer-like tool used in surveying an archaeological site (though
architects and civil engineers use them as well). This equipment is used to create a map of the site,
using GPS and spatial data which records exact locations and heights of specific points.

Soil Cores

A basic soil core is a small metal tube with a handle at the top that is used for probing specific areas in
the soil in search of buried artifacts or features. Once a specific spot is marked for coring, the
archaeolgist pushes the core into the ground using their body weight, then pulls it back out to inspect
the soil within it. If artifacts or a significant soil change is present, that area may be a good prospect for
excavation. Soil cores are also useful in locating sub-soil foundations; if a number of cores in a row
were stopped by hard resistance, it is likely there is a feature buried in that location.

Tongue Depressors/Dental Picks

Wooden tongue depressors and dental picks, just like the kinds you see at your doctor and dentists'
offices, are often used at archaeological sites. These small tools allow for the removal of soil in very
tight or small locations in a unit, or can be used to clean off larger or more sturdy artifacts.

Grids and Labeling

Archaeologists must be very careful when they start working on a "dig". It's important to know where
an object was found and what was found near it. This helps archaeologists date an object.

The first thing that is done is to prepare a grid. A grid is a design that breaks a section of ground into
small squares. These squares are marked usually with rope and string.

Each little square in the grid has to be carefully searched and measured. If something is found,
archaeologists note how deep in the earth it was. It is most important to carefully label each item by
assigning it a number in the grid. Archaeologists want to be as accurate as possible.


People have been digging around, looking for treasure for centuries, but, archaeology as a science is
pretty new. Many people, modern and ancient, have performed archeology. Ancient people, like Plato,
have written down information about artifacts they found, and discoveries they have heard about, such
as The Lost City of Atlantis.
In the 1700s, most people found artifacts by just plowing up their fields in the spring for crops. Thomas
Jefferson, on the other hand, was very scientific when he was digging around Indian mounds, trying to
find out what was in them.

In the 19th century, the "science" of archaeology began, but in a heavy-handed manner. People like
Belzoni (who was really just a tomb robber), who hauled out the huge head of Ramseses II for the
British Museum, or Heinrich Schliemann, who employed workers who had been working on the Suez
Canal, ruined many artifacts with their reckless digging. It is more fun to think of yourself as a treasure
hunter or digger than it is to use a strainer to find grains of pollen which is what we do now, but that is
the more effective way to do things.

An example of how careful the 19th century archaeologists were.

Until the 1920s, archaeologists received minimal training. Archaeologists like Leonard Woolley used
teams of unskilled workers to do digging. Today, archaeologists receive a lot of training and they have
to go to college. They work under close supervision and learn how to dig properly before going on their
own. We are moving from an era of constant excavation into one where we use nonintrusive
investigation (not even disturbing the site, just taking x-rays). A digger from a hundred years ago would
have dug recklessly, removing finds as soon as possible and maybe destroying priceless objects. Today,
we dig carefully, take x-rays of the ground and record carefully what we find.

Gridding a site
In their study of how to grid a site, students will use a map and the Cartesian coordinate system to:
establish a grid system over an archaeological site, labeling each grid unit;
determine the location of artifacts within each grid unit;
construct a scientific inquiry concerning the location of artifacts on the site.
For the teacher, transparencies of The Piedmont Site map and The Grid Sheet.
For each team of students, The Piedmont Site map, Artifact Location Record activity sheet, and a
Cartesian coordinate system: two- or three-dimensional grid based on intersecting, perpendicular
incremented lines or planes.
Datum: something to use as a basis for measuring; a reference point for a grid or a map.
Flake: a thin piece of stone removed by striking a larger piece with a hammer (usually made of antler
or stone). Flakes have sharp edges and were sometimes used as cutting implements. Flakes also were
further shaped into tools or were left as waste by-products of flintknapping.
Grid unit: a specific square or rectangular area on the Cartesian coordinate system, designated by the
coordinate in one corner (often the southwest corner).
Projectile point: a pointed implement (usually made from chipped stone) that was attached to the end of
a spear or an arrow. This is a general term that includes both spear points and arrowheads.
Sherd: a broken piece of pottery; a shard.
Site datum: a stable or permanent feature established as an arbitrary reference point from which the
entire site is measured and recorded.
Once a site has been dug (or in the case of sites with no depth, the surface artifacts have been collected),
it is gone forever and can never be replaced with another just like it. Because sites are destroyed during
collection or excavation processes, archaeologists record them in detail to preserve the context of all
the artifacts and structures. Archaeologists in the future can study an excavated site only if good notes
and maps are made.
One way archaeologists preserve context on paper is through the use of the rectangular grid, or
Cartesian coordinate system. The first step in the excavation process is to establish a grid. A site datum
is set at an arbitrarily chosen location and is designated as (0,0). Two perpendicular axes or lines
intersecting at the site datum are then established and a rectangular grid is superimposed over the entire
site. Each square on the ground is marked with numbered stakes in the corners, so that each square or
grid unit has a unique name referred to by its coordinates. The coordinates indicate the distance of a
given point north, south, east, or west from the site datum.
Once the grid is established, all artifacts and structures are measured and recorded using the system.
Before excavation actually begins, all artifacts visible on the surface are collected and their locations on
the grid are recorded. As the excavation proceeds, materials found under the surface are similarly
recorded and collected. When the archaeologist returns to the laboratory, the maps and the data
recorded in the field can be used to make inferences about past events and the lifeways of the sites
inhabitants. If the exact location of each artifact transported back to the laboratory is known, then the
object can be tied to its context within the site.
Setting the stage
Have the students imagine they are a team of archaeologists who have found an archaeological site.
Artifactsincluding projectile points, pottery sherds, and stone flakesare scattered on the surface of
the ground. They want to make a map of the site. How might they accurately record the location of the
artifacts? Have the students brainstorm ideas.
Project the map of The Piedmont Site and explain this is a site they have found in central North
Carolina. Overlay a transparency of The Grid Sheet and align it to the site by matching the site datum
points. Explain that they, as archaeologists, will establish the grid over the site prior to excavating it.
Share background information about the importance of gridding a site for current and future study.
Distribute The Piedmont Site map to each team. Point out the site datum in the lower left hand corner
and explain that this is the point from which the grid is established. The name of the site datum is (0,0).
Using a ruler, each team will draw the grid system on The Piedmont Site handout using a scale of 1
inch equals 10 feet. Tell them to start from the tip of the datum point in the lower left-hand corner. (The
squares in the other three corners of the site are there to help the student draw perpendicular lines.
Remind students archaeologists dont have this convenience in the field. They rely on transits, tape
measures, and strings.) It is helpful to model this procedure on the overhead projector.
Label each point on the grid. The southwest corner of each unit becomes the designation for that unit.
Examples of such designations are: (1,2), (2,2), and (2,3). Each coordinate indicates the distance east
and north of the site datum, respectively.
Distribute to each team the Artifact Location Record. On it, students will record the grid unit
designation and count and name the artifacts in each grid unit. If no artifacts are found in the unit,
students should put 0. If an artifact is on a grid line, the student must choose which grid square to
record it in. An artifact cannot be recorded in more than one square.
Following the procedure of scientific inquiry ask:
What do you notice about the distribution of the pot sherds? (Note your observations.)
Why is there a concentration of pot sherds in part of the site? (List some inferences.)
Choose one inference and formulate an hypothesis from it. Describe how the hypothesis might be
tested. Here is an example: There are a lot of pot sherds in one location. We might infer a pottery vessel
broke here. If all of the sherds have similar attributes and fit together, then we could accept the
hypothesis that a vessel broke in this location. What other reason could explain the concentration of
sherds? The students will not be able to actually test the hypothesis without access to the artifacts. This
exercise is designed to have them think like archaeologists.
Conduct a similar inquiry using the stone flakes or other artifacts.
Note: A simplified alternative to the above procedure is to have students overlay The Grid Sheet to
The Piedmont Site and hold them up to the light. The Grid Sheet already has named squares. After
the students record the artifacts found in each one (Step 5), pick up with the above procedure at number
Students turn in their completed Artifact Location Record for evaluation.
Summarize the importance of why archaeologists grid archaeological sites to assist with accurate
recording and making inferences from data, now and in the future.
With older students, precisely map artifacts within each grid unit. Measure the distance north and east
of the grid units southwest corner to find the exact location of each artifact with respect to the site
datum (0, 0). For example, an artifact might have coordinates like (2.1, 4.6) or (3.3, 8.8).
Create a site on the playground by depositing artifacts, and then establish a grid on the playground.
Map the artifacts using the grid.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Grade 6
Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will understand and determine probabilities.
Objective 4.03: Conduct experiments involving simple and compound events.
Objective 4.06: Design and conduct experiments or surveys to solve problems; report and analyze
Grade 6
Goal 1: The learner will use the five themes of geography and geographic tools to answer geographic
questions and analyze geographic concepts.
Objective 1.02: Generate, interpret, and manipulate information from tools such as maps, globes,charts,
graphs, databases, and models to pose and answer questions about space and place, environment and
society, and spatial dynamics and connections.
Objective 1.03: Use tools such as maps, globes, graphs, charts, databases, models, and artifacts to
compare data on different countries of South America and Europe and to identify patterns as well as
similarities and differences among them.
Grade 7
Goal 1: The learner will use the five themes of geography and geographic tools to answer geographic
questions and analyze geographic concepts.
Objective 1.02: Generate, interpret, and manipulate information from tools such as maps, globes, charts,
graphs, databases, and models to pose and answer questions about space and place, environment and
society, and spatial dynamics and connections.
Common Core State Standards
Grade 5
5.G.1Use a pair of perpendicular number lines, called axes, to define a coordinate system, with the
intersection of the lines (the origin) arranged to coincide with the 0 on each line and a given point in the
plane located by using an ordered pair of numbers,...
5.G.2Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the
coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.
North Carolina Essential Standards
Grade 6
6.G.2 Apply the tools of a geographer to understand the emergence, expansion and decline of
civilizations, societies and regions. 6.G.2.1 Use maps, charts, graphs, geographic data and available
technology tools to draw conclusions about the emergence, expansion...
6.H.1 Use historical thinking to understand the emergence, expansion and decline of civilizations,
societies and regions over time. 6.H.1.1 Construct charts, graphs, and historical narratives to explain
particular events or issues over time. 6.H.1.2 Summarize

Stone, Bronze, Iron Age

The Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age are three period of history identified by the way
people made tools and weapons. Different ancient civilizations developed at different speeds. So you
might have one group of early people using bronze tools, while another group was still using stone
tools. Those with better tools had a much easier time conquering other groups of people. The material
used to make tool and weapons most definitely had an influence on daily life in ancient times.

Stone Age man did not have sharp claws or strong sharp teeth. He was not larger or stronger than other
animals. He could not run like a deer or an antelope. To survive, early man invented and created stone
and bone weapons and tools. With these tools, early man could kill and trap those animals he needed
for food. With stone axes and spears, he could defend against those animals that thought he might be
food. Since many of the tools he created were made out of stone, this is called the Stone Age. The
Stone Age is considered to have begun about two million years ago, and ended sometime after the end
of the last ice age about ten thousand years ago.

The Bronze Age in ancient China started around 1700 BCE. This is when men learned how to mine
copper and tin to make bronze weapons. Bronze is a combination of 10% tin and 90% copper. Bronze
weapons are much stronger than stone weapons. The discovery of bronze changed a great many things.
For one thing, miners and craftsmen were needed to mine tin and copper, to make bronze weapons.
That meant farmers had to learn how to produce more food than they needed because not everyone was
farming. That meant weavers and potters were needed to clothe the miners and craftsmen, and to
provide pottery containers to the farmers to use to store food. There were many new inventions once
the Bronze Age began in ancient China. Most people were still farmers, but labor was getting organized.

The Iron Age followed the Bronze Age. This was the period of time when people made tools of iron.
Iron tools were stronger than bronze tools. Weapons were more powerful. Iron weapons began in the
Middle East and in southeastern Europe around 1200 BCE. They did not show up in China until around
600 BCE.

The Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age are called the three-age system. The years assigned
to each of these ages are ballparked, a guess - they are not accurate because different civilizations
developed at different speeds. But looking back through time, each ancient civilization went though a
Stone Age (stone tools and weapons), then a Bronze Age (bronze tools and weapons), then an Iron Age
(iron tools and weapons). Weapons appeared in different civilizations at different times through
invention, trade and conquest. Once better weapons arrived, they made a big difference.

Each improvement in tools and weapons led to other improvements in each civilization, improvements
such as new inventions, better production of food, and new or improved goods. These inventions
depended upon the type of material discovered and then used. Thus, the material used to make tool and
weapons had a great influence on daily life in ancient times.