Archaeology for Kids: Archaeology Activities for the Under-18s

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Archaeology for kids is safe and fun. There are a range of clubs and activities where archaeologists help under 18s learn about practical archaeology.

Archaeology interests many under-18 year olds. But whilst websites and magazines make an excellent starting point, sooner or later young enthusiasts want some practical experience of their hobby or intended career.

Parents want to make sure their children gain that experience in a safe environment, from professionals. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to satisfy parental concerns and the needs of any budding archaeologist in the family.

There are clubs or organisations especially for young archaeologists which allow them to learn and participate in events and fieldwork. Professional archaeologists also run courses in association with schools and summer schools which allow young people to learn about archaeology in their holidays.

Archaeology Clubs for Kids

Archaeology clubs and associations allow young people to learn about archaeology in fun, organised way. In addition to offering club magazines, many will also offer concessions on visits to archaeological sites as well as organised events which allow young members to participate in some practical archaeology.

When choosing a club, look for one that is run by a reputable archaeological association. That way you can be sure that your children will experience professional instruction, as well as being safe.

The Young Archaeologist’s Club in the UK is a good example of a well-run archaeology club for kids. Founded in 1972, it is run by the British Council for archaeology and caters for young people up to the age of seventeen. Membership benefits include:

– Four annual issues of Young Archaeologist Magazine
– Discounted or free access to 170 museums and sites in the UK
– Discounts on archaeology books

There are 70 local branches of the club. The branches allow young people to take part in archaeological events in their area, from excavations to reconstructions. These activities are all fully risk assessed and all local branch staff are carefully vetted by police to ensure they are safe to work with children. Parents can also accompany their children to events and activities by joining the club as an interested adult.

Archaeology Holidays

Many clubs also run supervised archaeology holidays especially designed for the under 18s. There are also many archaeology holidays and summer camps available for which young people who aren’t members of a specific organisation.

A good example of one centre running archaeology holidays is the Crow Canyon Archaeological centre . Located in the American South West, the centre was set up in 1983 to research the culture of the Anasazi people. It also specialises in archaeology summer camps which allow young people to develop their archaeological experience.

The camps are designed to fit the needs of different age groups. There are weeklong introductory holidays for younger kids and more intensive three week programs for older kids considering archaeology as a career.

Archaeology Courses

Some universities are also beginning to give youngsters the opportunity to learn about practical archaeology in their holidays by attending a series of specially designed courses for children.

Examples of such institutions include Wilfred Laurier University in Canada and the University of Calgary. Both offer a series of programs from half day courses to 5 days programs which allow kids to handle finds and work on real or simulated excavations all under the supervision of professional archaeologists.

It’s worth checking with a university near you to see if their archaeology department runs a similar scheme.

Teaching Archaeology in Schools

Archaeologists are also beginning to work closely with schools, helping youngsters learn firsthand about the archaeology of their area.

In South Australia, Jody Steele and Timothy Owen of Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia worked with local schools to set up just such a system. Sites were chosen close to the schools and a team of archaeologists worked with children and teachers who participated in practical archaeology in and out of the classroom.

Other options for learning about archaeology in schools involve fieldtrips to specialist archaeology centres. The Archaeolink Prehistoric Park in Aberdeenshire, Scotland is a resource unit which caters for schools, offering tours and hands on experience of the archaeology of a variety of periods from the Mesolithic to the Roman period.

Then, there is the internet which can be a resource for teachers interested in running courses themselves. Teachnology.com offers a range of lesson plans which allow kids to learn about archaeology under supervision from their own teachers. Activities include how to collect information about prehistory and simulated excavations. Technology also facilitates links to other schools, archaeologists and kids around the world via its Past Foundation link.

Archaeological Organisations

The examples in this article are not exhausted. For further information about courses, schemes and associations in your area, try your local educational institute or official archaeological body, such as the British Council for Archaeology or Archaeological Institute of America.