by Elizabeth Reetz, University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist
Scavenger Hunt BINGO!
As we're adjusting to a summer with no summer camps and limited in-person outreach events, the Office of the State Archaeologist is working hard to create digital and at-home options for learning about archaeology. This summer, we've partnered with Iowa Public Radio's new Summer Camp series and created an archaeology scavenger hunt!
Listen to the Archaeology Summer Camp episode of Talk of Iowa!
Archaeology is NOT just about digging and artifacts. It's about using scientific and historical inquiry to discover information that tells a story about the human past. Human stories are intertwined with nature and places, and we can look for evidence of these stories almost anywhere.
The tasks on the BINGO card fall into five categories of study or research that archaeologists use frequently.
- We study objects used or created by humans;
- we conduct field and lab work that includes making maps and taking photos;
- we investigate how humans met their basic needs like food, clothing, and social interaction;
- we dive into archives and do oral interviews to get more perspective; and
- we promote stewardship and preservation, emphasize the importance of context, communicate with the public, and consult with community members and Tribal partners to learn about past and present cultures from their perspectives.
Our summer scavenger hunt is guided by a BINGO card. Each task on the BINGO card corresponds to a page in a printable or digital version of our Archaeology Field Notes booklet. Print the booklet to record your observations in writing and draw or paste photos of your completed tasks or use the digital version (designed as Google worksheets) to type into the clickable text boxes and insert images.
All of the tasks can be accomplished around the house, but we encourage participants to challenge themselves by exploring for clues in their neighborhoods, communities, and while respecting rules of social distancing at local, county, and state parks.
The Archaeology Field Notes booklet contains background information and prompts to help participants record their observations, make inferences, and even ask more questions. Field records, photographs, and drawings are an incredibly important part of archaeological work. Archaeology is a destructive science, and when we excavate sites or disturb the ground, we essentially destroy these sites. Learning how to create good documentation is an archaeologist's most necessary skill. Without these records, we cannot communicate what we investigated or what we learned, and there is no record for future researchers to understand or study.
How to Participate
Here are the Files You Need
Digital version in Google Sheets: We get it - some kids don't like to write and would rather use a Google Worksheet! Save the file on your personal Google Drive and use the clickable text boxes to insert text. Insert images and additional slides for graphics as needed.
Choose a Difficulty Level!
- Explorer Level 1: Around the House Explorer. Suitable for younger kids or those who are staying close to home this summer.
- Explorer Level 2: Neighborhood Explorer: Explore the backyards of your house and neighbors, farms of family and friends, your local library, museum, and parks.
- Explorer Level 3: Regional Explorer: With your family, travel to parks, museums, nature areas, and farms of family and friends. Visit sites from the Iowa Archaeology Google Map.
It’s important to take original photos of the tasks completed (or in the case of our few digital tasks, take a screenshot) so that we understand your level of engagement and participation. If you do not want your child to appear in any photos, try making and printing a flat stanley using a drawing or a Bitmoji! We will NOT share any images without your permission.
Participate on Social Media (optional but encouraged)
Win Prizes! (Deadline for prizes is August 16)
Accomplishment: Complete 5 tasks for a horizontal BINGO, one for each research topic!
Prize: Email your mailing address and the photo evidence of each child's completed tasks and/or completed field notebook pages to email@example.com. We will mail a sticker, mini-button, and bookmark!
Accomplishment: Complete 3 rows, at least two must be horizontal.
Prize: Email your mailing address and the photo evidence of each child's completed tasks and/or completed field notebook pages to firstname.lastname@example.org. The accomplished explorer can choose a 6” x 8” spiral notebook or 8.5” x 6” zip pouch from the Iowa Archaeology Threadless Store. We’ll also mail a sticker, mini-button, and bookmark!
Accomplishment: Complete a BINGO blackout and finish all of the tasks!
Prize: Email your mailing address and the photo evidence of each child's completed tasks and/or completed field notebook pages to email@example.com. The accomplished explorer can choose a Youth-size t-shirt from the Iowa Archaeology Threadless Store. We’ll also mail a sticker, mini-button, and bookmark!
We've even created some hints and examples for parents who may need to provide guidance to their children to complete the scavenger hunt tasks. Find these on pages 2 and 3 of the Google Slides or attached PDF, but don't show them to your kids!
If you have any questions about this summer activity, don't hesitate to email us!