Archaeology Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping teachers explain the history and specializations within the field of archaeology to students. Students will research sub-disciplines of archaeological study.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson on archaeology, students will be able to:

  • Ask and answer questions about archaeology.
  • Summarize the specializations and sub-disciplines in the field of archaeology.
  • Describe how archaeologists in a particular sub-discipline contribute their expertise to the collective understanding of culture and history.


90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.


  • anthropologist
  • antiquarianism
  • archaeological dig
  • archaeologist
  • archaeology
  • artifacts
  • cultures
  • experimental archaeology
  • historian
  • historic archaeology
  • nationalism
  • niche
  • physical remains
  • prehistoric archaeology
  • protohistoric archaeology
  • taphonomy
  • trowels


  • Copies of quiz
  • Copies of the lesson
  • Paper
  • Pencils or pens
  • Access to reference materials
  • Trifold presentation boards
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper

Reading & Discussion Questions

  • Preview vocabulary with students prior to watching the lesson.
  • Watch What is Archaeology? - Definition, History & Topics as a class, and discuss the following questions:
    • What is archaeology?
    • What is the difference between physical remains and artifacts?
    • What type of information do archaeologists hope to gain from their findings?
    • What is the motivation for antiquarianism?
    • Who is responsible for the first archaeological digs in America?
    • What was this person interested in learning about?
    • What are some of the tools that are used by archaeologists?
    • What are some areas of specialization for archaeologists.
    • What is the difference between a specialization and a sub-discipline of archaeology?
    • Describe the three main branches of archaeology.
    • What is taphonomy?
    • What are the benefits of experimental archaeology?
  • Ask if there are any questions, then give the students the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.
  • Check the answers as a class.

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