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Education in BLM>Learning Landscapes>In the Spotlight>Project Archaeology Investigating Shelter
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Learning Landscapes Spotlight Feature

Project Archaeology Program Launches 
Nationally Endorsed Curriculum

In June 2009, Project Archaeology, a joint program of BLM and Montana State University, launched Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter, a new national science and social studies curriculum. The curriculum guides upper elementary grade teachers through instruction in archaeological concepts, science inquiry skills, and stewardship principles. Teachers can download a complete investigation of a shelter, which includes authentic oral histories, historic photographs, archaeological site maps, and artifact drawings unique to their region. Ten different regional investigations will be available.

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) endorsed Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter in 2008. Writing for NCSS, Executive Director Susan Griffin said, “NCSS is pleased to support a program that seeks to educate students on the cultures of the past and how they have endured to the present.” 

Sarah Miller of the Florida Public Archaeology Network teaching a Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter workshop at the National Council for the Social Studies in November 2009 in Atlanta, GA.

More than 150 professional archaeologists and educators from across the nation assisted with production and review of the curriculum. BLM heritage educators lent their considerable expertise to the entire project. Jeanne Moe (NLCS-EIP) guided the project and wrote much of the curriculum guide. Wayne Rice (NLCS-EIP) designed and formatted the book. Megg Heath (NLCS-EIP) provided general guidance and editorial expertise and Derrick Baldwin (NLCS-EIP) assisted with Web site development. Ranel Capron (Wyoming State Office) and Robin Burgess (Cultural Resources and Tribal Consultation) assisted with editing and provided content expertise on Federal cultural resources protection laws. Faculty and staff at MSU helped secure and administer funding for the project and student interns and research assistants help develop the curriculum guide. Archaeologists reviewed draft copies for accuracy and teachers piloted drafts in their classrooms and provided vital feedback to help improve the final product.   

Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter has already been delivered to educators in five states through inservice and preservice workshops. 

Teachers on a field trip during an Investigating Shelter workshop in Montana.   

Educators may attend workshops through one of 27 state and regional Project Archaeology programs. (Locate your local program by visiting Alternatively, Project Archaeology will offer online courses nationally beginning on January 18, 2010, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah. To register for an online course, contact Madlyn Runburg.

For additional information you can join the Project Archaeology group on Facebook.

Project Archaeology is an educational organization dedicated to teaching scientific and historical inquiry, cultural understanding, and the importance of protecting our nation’s rich cultural resources. It is a national network of archaeologists, educators, and concerned citizens working to make archaeology education accessible to students and teachers nationwide through high-quality educational materials and professional development. Museum educators, youth group leaders, and heritage site interpreters apply these materials in informal learning environments.

Project Archaeology is a joint program of the US Bureau of Land Management and Montana State University.