Archaeology Day: 10/20

Come to the Museum on Archaeology Day and enjoy demonstrations and hands-on activities involving the creation of ceramics, their use, and various aspects of archaeological investigations.  Museum-wide activities will provide you with an understanding of how archaeology impacts our understanding and interpretation of past life-ways.

Ceramics are essential to human activities.  Nearly every documented culture has some form of clay-derived objects that are typically fired in kilns. The people coming to and already living in America had a rich and varied ceramic background, which our Archaeology Day activities will showcase.

Appropriate for all ages!  Dig boxes will be available for the kids at the 1740s American Settlement exhibit.  Activities will be ongoing throughout the day at each of the Museum’s exhibits noted below.

West African Farm:

Pottery Making- West Africa has a vibrant ceramic tradition, dating well back to approximately the 5th century BCE. Come see our interpreters demonstrate traditional methods of West African pottery making.

English Farm:

Ceramics and their uses- England has a long and varied history of ceramic production.  Our 17th century English farm is full of a wide range of interesting ceramics, some for very specific uses.  Ask our interpreters about their favorite pieces!

Previous archaeological dig on the American Indian Site (Ganatastwi)

Irish Forge:

Ferrous Metals and their uses- Come learn about the history of metallurgy and metal working.  Iron is one of the most widely used materials for architecture and farm implements.  Watch our blacksmiths create iron objects for use on museum sites.

Irish Farm:

Ceramics and their uses- Our Irish farm demonstrates a wide array of domestic ceramics, which would have been widely available in the 18th century, even on poorer tenant farms.  Learn about the difference between utilitarian and finer wares.

German Farm:

Ceramics and their uses-  Germany is well known for her ceramic traditions. See if you can find the Bartmann bottle or the steins on our 18th century German farm!

Sometimes, it’s what’s missing that tells the story… like a post hole


Pottery Firing- Watch our interpreters create reproduction native pottery and fire it in a traditional subterranean kiln.
Lithics- (Still tentative with George.)  Knapping is the process of creating stone tools and projectile points. Live demonstrations will be going all day.

1740s American Settlement:

Field Excavation- Come get dirty! Our 1740 settlement turns into a miniature archaeological excavation for the day.  Dig boxes let you try your hand at excavation to find ceramic sherds, then take your finds over to our outdoor lab to learn about how archaeology provides information about past life ways.

1820s American Farm:

Ceramics in Foodways- Ceramics are the mainstay of any early American kitchen. Come watch live cooking demonstrations in our 1820 farmhouse, utilizing these domestic wares.

Excavations can turn up a wide variety of stone, bone, and iron artifacts

1850s American Farm:

Ceramics for Food Preservation- Without refrigeration, food preservation involved drying, salting, and storing food in ceramic vessels.  Our interpreters will be demonstrating food preservation techniques in primarily salt-glazed crocks.