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Teachers participating in workshop


The Smithsonian Institution and the Montana State University, on behalf of Project Archaeology, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2007 between Project Archaeology and the Department of Anthropology "to collaborate to promote intellectual exchange and the advancement of education and outreach in archaeology, to enhance an understanding of the preservation and study of the past among students and educators, and to develop the resources required to pursue these objectives."

To achieve these goals, Project Archaeology's Chesapeake Regional Office organizes professional development workshops for upper elementary teachers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Keep your eyes on this site to learn about future teacher workshops.

Previous Workshops:

June 2011 Investigating Shelter Teacher Workshop

June 2011 Project Archaeology

This year’s teacher workshop on the Investigating Shelter curriculum focused on a late 17th century earthfast house in Calvert County, Maryland. Teachers spent two classroom days at the National Museum of Natural History being introduced to this multidisciplinary curriculum that introduces the basic concepts of archaeological inquiry and then applies them to the investigation of a shelter, using historical evidence.

Teachers also toured the exhibition Written in Bone, Forensic Files of the 17th Century and attended a lecture by the exhibit curator Dr. Douglas Owsley, who talked about his work as a forensic anthropologist. On the workshop’s third day, teachers had an opportunity to engage in archaeological fieldwork at Historic London Town and Gardens, a colonial seaport in Anne Arundel County, which has a reconstructed earthfast house, and hear a presentation on the history and archaeology of these dwellings.


June 2010 Workshop on Investigating Shelter

Teachers from Virginia, DC, and Maryland, including Baltimore County, attended the workshop, Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter, African American Archaeology in the Chesapeake Region, June 28-30, which included museum classroom instruction and excavation at an archaeological site in Maryland. The Investigating Shelter curriculum, endorsed by the National Council for Social Studies, was supplemented with presentations, activities, and materials that focused on African American archaeology in the Chesapeake region.

Teachers practiced the basics of scientific and historical inquiry using authentic archaeological data to investigate a slave quarter that was located at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest plantation in Virginia. Kirsti Uunila, historic preservation planner at Calvert County Government, was a guest speaker. After two days of interactive classroom activities, the teachers visited Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in Calvert County, Maryland, where they participated in an archaeological excavation of an 18th century site. Project Archaeology Program Manager Maureen Malloy taught the course with elementary teacher Jackie Moore. Ann Kaupp was a workshop organizer.

The workshop evaluations submitted by the teachers were unanimous in expressing very positive responses to the workshop curriculum, organization, and expectations. Comments included:
“This is by far the best workshop I have attended in a very long time. Not only did I learn new lessons to teach, but I am so excited that I can integrate them right intro reading, writing, and math.”  
“Excellent. I would highly recommend this to other teachers. I learned a great deal.”

Teachers screening at an 18th century archaeological aite
Teachers screening at an 18th century archaeological site.

Investigating Shelter: The Archaeology of the Colonial Chesapeake, June 29, 30, and July 1, 2009.
This workshop introduced new teaching materials, based on the complete archaeological investigation of a 17th century earthfast house in Calvert County, Maryland, that model how scientists analyze and interpret data. This new supplementary science and social studies curriculum unit for grades 3 - 5 consists of 9 comprehensive lessons that guide students through the archaeological study of shelter. The workshop included a tour of the exhibit Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century Chesapeake and an historic forensic exercise in the exhibit’s Forensic Anthropology Lab. [Update: the Forensic Anthropology Lab is closed as of July 2013. Future programs will be offered in the new Q?rius education space].

2009 workshop
June 2009 Project Archaeology participants


Facilitator Workshop, 2008
Project Archaeology held its first facilitator training workshop in the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology on February 8 and 9, 2008. Co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, the workshop was attended by 20 individuals representing several institutions, including the Maryland Historical Trust, Montgomery College of Maryland, Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Department, D.C. Public Schools, Versar, Inc., Kansas State University, and the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian’s Chesapeake Regional Office organized the workshop.

project arch
Participants in the Facilitator workshop.


Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter, African American Archaeology in the Chesapeake Region, June 19 & 20, 2007

This two-day workshop, which focused on an excavated slave quarters at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, was geared to upper elementary teachers with ethnically diverse classrooms. Seventeen teachers practiced the basics of scientific inquiry and then assumed roles as archaeologists using geography, history (including oral history), and archaeology in their investigation of the slave cabin. They analyzed artifacts and historic structures, incorporating information on soil chemistry, spatial reasoning, ethnobotany, and zoology. They also explored the ethics of conducting scientific research on past cultures and peoples and participated in role playing. The subject of enslaved people prompted lively discussions as several teachers shared stories of their family’s personal histories.

Project Archaeology 2007

What do archaeologists do in the 21st century? Read 12 personal accounts in this special issue of the SAA Archaeological Record

Online Professional Development:

Join us for an exciting trip back in time to investigate archaeology! You will use this virtual workshop to practice the basics of scientific inquiry (observation, inference, evidence, and classification) using authentic archaeological data.  This is a ‘must-do’ course that will not only enhance your own understanding of archaeology, but also provide you with a comprehensive set of lessons that you can use in your own classroom! Learn more about the online educator course. Choose your own start date; courses are offered in January, March, and October.

For more information on Project Archaeology programs, contact Maureen Malloy at or call (202) 633-1918.

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