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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Curriculum Resources for the Alaskan Environment

Subject Areas: local history, archaeology, natural history, math, report writing

Timeline: 1-2 months

Grade Levels: 7-12

Purpose: to develop and preserve a sense of local history; to organize an archaeological "dig" either within the village or within camping distance; to employ various methods of excavation


T. Wagner and J. Boyle
Village Archaeology



Square bullet Activities

  • Talk to elders about where people used to live, where structures used to stand, or where festivals used to occur. Ask about old village sites, abandoned camp sites, and ancient battle grounds ... maybe even old burial grounds. Attempt to determine ownership or previous occupancy by word-of-mouth or through village records.
  • Once you've chosen a site, either in the village or elsewhere, sectionally divide the site with string or rope in a grid fashion. Make sections about three yards square.
  • Each student should be responsible for one grid. Start careful digging and use a screen sieve for fine work. Look for pits, mounds, bones, utensils, cut rock, etc.-anything that looks out-of-the-ordinary.
  • When something is discovered, record from which grid, how deep it was found, and what else was there. Write to the museum at the University of Alaska for survey methods and mapping used and for methods of preservation.
  • Use photographs where possible and do "exploded" drawings to show relative positions of artifacts in relation to other artifacts at the same dig.
  • Send samples to the museum for dating and write a site report.

Square bullet Resources

  • University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum
  • Alaska Historical Library and Museum
  • Society for Historical Archaeology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83843
  • a long handled, rounded or pointed shovel
  • some trowels, several cheap paint brushes
  • small screen with wooden frame, some containers, and an atomizer
  • Robbins, Maurice. (1973). The Amateur Archaeologist Handbook. Crowell


  • Film the excavations.

Carving and Jewelry Co-Op

Fund-Raising: Concessions/Raffle/Auction/T-Shirt Sales

Rummage Sales

Mail Order Business

School-Based Enterprises

Café Operation

Open House

Community Use of School Library

Village Recreation

Guest Speakers


Local Livelihood

On-the-Job/Cooperative Education

College Preparation

Teacher's Aide Training

Managing Community Affairs

Land Claims Brainstorming

The Corporation Game or Alaska Monopoly

Reconveyances: ANCSA Studies

Resource Development Options

City Council Meeting Simulation

Mock Board of Directors Meeting

REAA School Board Trip

Your Village

Family Tree

Village Archaeology

Building Traditional Dwellings

Cultural Heritage Projects

Traditional Hunters Manual

Ethnic Dinners

Following the Iditarod Dog Race

Visit to the Tribes

Trip to Mexico

Cross-Country Skiing

Firearms Handling

First-Aid Training

Christmas Shopping      



Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Last modified August 17, 2006