Activity: Stratigraphy puzzle
This is an activity for you to lead either at a suitable site in the New Forest National Park (e.g. visit to an archaeological dig) or your nearest National Park, or in the classroom using the internet.
Key stage - England and Wales
Level - Scotland
This activity is for you to take, using the resources below. You may also want to arrange a talk by a local archaeologist - either on site or in the classroom.
The resources for this case study can be adapted to suit the age and curriculum needs of each student.
Students will learn about stratigraphy - the study of layers or rock and earth and how this is used by archaeologists to date finds during excavations.
If a layer (or strata) contains finds which can be dated then that complete layer can be dated. By studying the different layers of material on a site archaeologists can work out the order in which things happened - even if a later feature has cut through earlier ones as, say, a new ditch would.
Students will learn about:
- how rock, soil, traces of plants and animals settle on the earth's surface in layers
- how the layer of earth on the bottom is the oldest and the layer on top is the youngest
- how each layer differs in colour, texture and structure
- how human materials and artefacts occur together in layers
- how these layers form a record of past events
- how archaeologists use this knowledge to date items they find during an excavation