U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
BLM, Cody Field Office partnering with BLM, State Office, the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, the Shoshone National Forest, and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center conducted Site Stewardship training in May of 2008. The program was aimed at engaging the local public to assist in monitoring at risk cultural resources. CYFO targeted the Oregon Basin Petroglyph Site for monitoring. Volunteers were educated in monitoring procedures, preservation ethics, and safety.
BLM encouraged its states to write a state specific supplement to Intrigue of the Past that would include a culture history and teacher resource directory. Wyoming initiated the program in 1993. Discovering Archaeology in Wyoming was printed in 1997 and we began our teacher training efforts. We began by holding a Facilitator Workshop in March at the University of Wyoming. Twelve archaeologists, representing BLM, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the University of Wyoming Department of Anthropology, consulting archaeologists and the State Archaeologist, and 12 teachers (from across the state) attended the workshop. These folks became the core of our training program.
As facilitators, they teamed up, one archaeologist with one teacher, to teach a workshop in their hometowns throughout Wyoming. We reached approximately 140 teachers in the first year. Since then, we have held four more workshops reaching 50 more teachers. Adding the 12 facilitator teachers to that number and multiply it times the average classroom size of 20, we estimate that over 4,000 students have been taught at least one lesson out of Project Archaeology.
Even though the current educational materials target 4th - 7th grades, our workshops are not limited to teachers from those grades. Intrigue contains three sections: Fundamental Concepts, Process of Archaeology and Issues in Archaeology. Fundamental Concepts cover such basic concepts of archaeological inquiry and interpretation as observation, inference, context, chronology, classification, culture and scientific inquiry. Section Two, the Process of Archaeology, includes lessons concerning data gathering and analysis, such as stratigraphy, artifact classification, dendrochronology, pollen analysis, ethnography and experimental archaeology. Section Three, Issues in Archaeology, tackles the ever-difficult lessons of conservation and protection. Several lessons on rock art and archaeological ethics are included. These last lessons allow students to form their own opinions about resource protection.
Project Archaeology workshops are routinely evaluated for standards in content and quality of instruction. Three years after beginning the program, Utah conducted an evaluation of its program by surveying the educators who had previously taken the workshops. Of the educators who returned the questionnaire, 82% indicated that they still used the program. In addition, as a result of the instruction, the teachers reported that most students had changed their attitudes regarding archaeological resource conservation.
In addition, we are currently working on tying Project Archaeology to the Wyoming State Standards. A draft of this document is expected to be released in 2003.
Project Archaeology appeals to teachers because it supports their existing curriculum and can be easily used in interdisciplinary studies. Indeed, in one workshop, an art teacher who attended with some of her coworkers couldn't wait to integrate the rock art lessons with Wyoming history that were being covered in the classroom. The hands-on activities are also a big plus for the program. Finally, teachers also benefit from meeting professional archaeologists and are able to call on them as a resource for assisting them with specific lessons or to give class presentations.
Inservice/recertification credit is always offered. Depending on the length of the class, up to 21 credits from the Professional Teaching Standards Board can be earned. In the past, we have also obtained academic credit from the University of Wyoming.
In such a rural state as Wyoming, where the public vs. private land issue is so prevalent, it is good to know that these lessons make people stop and think about the shared heritage we all have in common. As one teacher stated, "These past few days have been a real eye-opener; the activity on context really made me stop and think about the importance of leaving artifacts as you find them." That's the whole idea behind the program -- getting to the teachers, the students, and ultimately the adults behind the students, and instilling in them an ethic for the past. Wyoming's past is often right outside their door and we are pleased to offer Project Archaeology to Wyoming's public.
Like the teachers who have taken the class, we are excited. Although our budget is small, the partnerships we have created in Wyoming with the Forest Service, the State Archaeologist, the SHPO and the University of Wyoming, are helping to spread this educational program across the state.
Project Archaeology website.
Our first mystery features Outlaws, primarily Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Since these outlaws frequented public lands in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, we decided they were a good fit. In fact, two of the "hideouts" - Brown's Hole and Hole-in-the-Wall are both on public land, although somewhat inaccessible.
To request a copy of The History Mystery Examiner, please send your name and mailing address.
Planning is occurring for the second and third History Mystery newspapers. We hope the next one will be on the First Americans and the third one on Ghost Towns. Stay tuned!