Archaeology

Archaeology merit badge was introduced April 1, 1997.

  1. Tell what archaeology is and explain how it differs from anthropology, geology, paleontology, and history.
  2. Describe each of the following steps of the archaeological process: site location, site excavation, artifact identification and examination, interpretation, preservation, and information sharing.
  3. Describe at least two ways in which archaeologists determine the age of sites, structures, or artifacts. Explain what relative dating is.
  4. Do TWO of the following:
    1. Gather research on three archaeological sites located outside the United States. Point out each site on a world map. Explain how each site was discovered. Describe some of the information from the past that has been found at each site. Explain how the information gained from the study of these sites answers questions that archaeologists are asking and how the information may be important for modern people. Compare the relative ages of the sites.
    2. Gather research on three archaeological sites that are within the United States. Point out each site on the map. Explain how each site was discovered. Describe some of the information from the past that has been found at each site. Explain how the information gained from the study of these sites answers questions that archaeologists are asking and how the information may be important for modern people. Compare the relative ages of the sites.
    3. Visit an archaeological site and gather research on it. Explain how the site was discovered. Describe some of the information from the past that has been found at the site. Explain how the information gained from the study of this site answers questions that archaeologists are asking and how the information may be important for modern people. Compare the age of this site with the ages of the other sites you have researched.
  5. Choose ONE of the research projects you completed for requirement 4. Present your findings to your Scout troop, school class, or other group.
  6. Do the following:
    1. Explain why it is important to protect archaeological sites.
    2. Explain what people should do if they think they have found an artifact.
    3. Describe ways in which you can be a protector of the past.
  7. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Make a list of items you would include in a time capsule. Discuss with your merit badge counselor what archaeologists a thousand years from now might learn from the contents of your capsule about you and the culture in which you live.
    2. Make a list of the trash your family throws out during one week. Discuss with your counselor what archaeologists finding that trash a thousand years from now might learn from it about you and your family.
  8. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Under the supervision of a qualified archaeologist, spend at least eight hours helping to excavate an archaeological site.
    2. Under the supervision of a qualified archaeologist, spend at least eight hours in an archaeological laboratory helping to prepare artifacts for analysis, storage, or display.
    3. If you are unable to work in the field or in a laboratory under the supervision of a qualified archaeologist, you may substitute a mock dig. To find out how to make a mock dig, talk with a professional archaeologist, trained avocational archaeologist, museum school instructor, junior high or high school science teacher, adviser from a local archaeology society, or other qualified instructor. Plan what you will bury in your artificial site to show use of your "site" during two time periods.
  9. Under the supervision of a qualified archaeologist or instructor, do ONE of the following:
    1. Help prepare an archaeological exhibit for display in a museum, visitor center, school, or other public area.
    2. Use the methods of experimental archaeology to re-create an item or to practice a skill from the past. Write a brief report explaining the experiment and its results.
  10. Identify three career opportunities in archaeology and tell what education and experience are required for each.
  11. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Research American Indians who live or once lived in your area. Find out about traditional lifeways, dwellings, clothing styles, arts and crafts, and methods of food gathering, preparation, and storage. Describe what you would expect to find at an archaeological site for these people.
    2. Research settlers or soldiers who were in your area at least one hundred years ago. Find out about the houses or forts, ways of life, clothing styles, arts and crafts, and dietary habits of the early settlers, farmers, ranchers, soldiers, or townspeople who once lived in the area where your community now stands. Describe what you would expect to find at an archaeological site for these people.
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