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Unit 1: Set 3: Ancient Villages - Activities

Introduction | Menoken | Huff | Double Ditch | Activities

  1. Draw a timeline on a long sheet of white freezer wrap or brown craft paper. Mark the important events of European History and United States History on the timeline. Then place Menoken, Huff, and Double Ditch villages in their proper place on the timeline. Draw some comparisons between life in Europe and life on the northern Great Plains at those particular times. In which setting would you rather have lived? Explain your answer carefully.
  1. This lesson uses a lot of terms that are important in the study of the ancient past such as archeology, artifact, culture, excavation, horticulture. Make a list of the terms that were new to you. Use a dictionary to define these terms.
  1. List ten things we do not know about the ancient villages of the Missouri River. Is there some way to find answers to these questions? Do we have the answers to these questions about ancient sites other than those in this study such as Cahokia Mounds in Illinois or Mesa Verde in Colorado?
  1. Practice archeological analysis. When archeologists locate objects at an ancient site, they evaluate the context of the object to understand its use and meaning. For archeologists, context is spatial, meaning they need to know if the object came from a house or a work site such as a quarry. You can practice this type of analysis by doing the following exercise.

    1. Make a list of ten things in either your bedroom or the kitchen in your house. These should be things that will last a long time (like artifacts in an archeological site) such as things made of plastic, metal, ceramic, or stone.
    2. Write a short essay explaining why these things are in your room and why they are important to you.
    3. Exchange your list with someone else in your class. Ask your classmate to determine whether these things came from the kitchen or your bedroom. How do you know which room it was?
    4. Your classmate will then use these artifacts to write a short essay about what the items say about the way you or your family live.
    5. Compare your essays. How well did your classmate understand you through observing these artifacts? What important parts of your life cannot be understood from the objects on the list?
  1. Find out how many square acres your town encompasses. How many people live within that space? What is the person per acre density of your town? How does that compare to the density of Huff, Menoken, or Double Ditch? What are the advantages of high-density villages versus low-density villages?

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