Intrigue of the Past

Intrigue of the Past: A Teacher’s Activity Guide for Fourth through Seventh Grade is Project Archaeology’s basic activity guide. It was published in 1993. Intrigue is widely recognized as an excellent resource for teachers, archaeologists, and other educators.

Intrigue brings archaeology to life. Intrigue’s Activity Guide is divided into three sections and contains 28 classroom-tested lessons that use history and archaeology to teach science, math, history, social studies, art, language arts, and higher-level thinking skills, such as problem solving, synthesis, and evaluation. Lessons address multiple learning and teaching styles and include many hands-on activities. All lessons are either self-contained or require only readily available materials.

The first section, Fundamental Concepts, covers the basic concepts needed to understand archaeological inquiry and interpretation: observation, inference, context, chronology, classification, culture, and scientific inquiry. The second section, The Process of Archaeology, simulates the profession of archaeology including data gathering and analysis. It explains how archaeologists do their work and interpret their results. The final section, Issues in Archaeology, presents students with issues surrounding archaeological resource protection and provides opportunities for forming opinions about site stewardship and active citizenship. It relates archaeology to personal ethics, stewardship of our heritage resources, citizenship, and cultural understanding. Students confront archaeological preservation and stewardship problems and propose solutions through discussion, debate, and problem solving.

Intrigue lessons support the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, and Science.

KAS has developed content materials for the Kentucky State Project Archaeology Program to supplement the Intrigue of the Past Activity Guide and to provide information about local archaeology and history. These materials include information about local prehistory and history, such as booklets and documentaries, corresponding lessons or suggestions for classroom activities, and a guide to local resources/resource people.

KAS has adapted several Intrigue of the Past lessons for Kentucky teachers that highlight Kentucky content. Examples include a lesson that considers ethics and preservation (Loving the Gorge to Death), one that targets archaeology concepts (Experimental Archaeology: Making Cordage), and one that focuses on distinctively Kentucky kinds of sites (caves) and indigenous art (Ancient Native American Era Kentucky Cave Art).

KAS has prepared booklets about selected topics in Kentucky Native and non-Native history and companion guides for teachers for the documentaries in KAS’ Kentucky Archaeology and Heritage Video Series. These guides consist of eight classroom-tested, cross-curricular activities. Grade level varies from middle school to high school, depending on the documentary’s subject matter. These Kentucky-centric content materials supplement the information and concepts covered in the Intrigue of the Past Activity Guide.