Lesson: Ethnoarchaeology


Author: Annalisa Alvrus

Area: Anthropology

Grade Level: 6-12



"Ethnoarchaeology" is the study of the material remains of a living culture. An archaeologist attempts to reconstruct a picture of an extinct culture by studying that culture's material remains, including remains of buildings, bones, tools, and other such "trash". An ethnologist studies the behaviors and beliefs of a living culture. Combining the two disciplines provides anthropologists with a means to study how the archaeological record (the remains of those past cultures) comes into being, by studying such things as how living people deposit their material remains, the remains that eventually will become our own archaeological record. A minimum of 4 class periods.



  • 1SC-E1. Identify a question, formulate a hypothesis, control and manipulate variables, devise experiments, predict outcomes, compare and analyze results, and defend conclusions.
  • 1SC-E2. Create a model to predict change.
  • 1SC-E3. Organize and present data gathered from their own experiences, using appropriate mathematical analyses and graphical representations.
  • 1SC-P1. Propose solutions to practical and theoretical problems by synthesizing and evaluating information gained from scientific investigations.
  • 1SC-P2. Compare observations of the real world to observations of a constructed model (e.g., an aquarium, a terrarium, a volcano).
  • 1SC-P6. Identify and refine a researchable question, conduct the experiment, collect and analyze data, share and discuss findings.
  • 2SC-E6. Demonstrate how science is an ongoing process of gathering and evaluating information, assessing evidence for and against theories and hypotheses, looking for patterns, and then devising and testing possible explanations.
  • 2SC-P6. Analyze evidence that supports past and current scientific theories about a specific topic.
  • 3SC-P1. Apply scientific thought processes and procedures to personal and social issues.


  • Content Standard E: As a result of activities in these grades, all Indian students should develop an understanding of the importance of knowledge about science and technology as it applies to contemporary Indian communities in such areas as natural resources development, management and conservation.
  • Content Standard F: As a result of activities in these grades, all Indian students should develop an understanding of historic and contemporary contributions of American Indians to current knowledge about conservation and healthy ecological practices and how these relate to applications of modern science and technology in local, regional, national and global circumstances/problems.
  • Content Standard G: As a result of activities in these grades, all Indian students should develop an understanding that traditional American Indian life involved skills and practices common to the process of scientific inquiry
 Lesson Plan (pdf/doc)
 Rubric (pdf/doc)
 Standards (pdf/doc)
 Vocabulary (pdf/doc)