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Archaeology Camps for Teens

by Tara West

For the budding archaeologist, there are plenty of summer camp options. Camps across the United States offer teens the chance to work alongside professional archaeologists at real excavation sites. Students will learn to excavate, record and process their finds while contributing to a real artifact database. These hands-on camps provide a glimpse at what the day and life of a real archaeologist may be like.

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colo., gives teens age 14 and older the opportunity to work side-by-side with professional archaeologists. Teens will excavate at a real, working archaeological dig site in the Mesa Verde region learning about the Pueblo Indians that inhabited the area. This one-week camp features excavating, identifying artifacts, working in the research laboratory and touring Mesa Verde National Park. Campers are even given the opportunity to learn to spear throw like ancient Pueblo Indians.

Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions

These summer expeditions, which embark from Cottonwood Gulch in Albuquerque, N.M., feature treks across various portions of New Mexico for kids ages 10-18. Expeditions are designed to incorporate exploration of the natural world in the form of ecology, archaeology and paleontology. Naturalists accompany campers to provide guidance and assistance with anything that may interest the teen. The Paleontology Trek for ages 14 and older features a 13-day journey that includes excavating real dinosaur bones with a professional paleontologist.

Hickory Hill

Hickory Hill in Thomson, Ga., offers a camp called Dig History! that allows kids age 11-17 the ability to work alongside a professional archaeologist. Campers excavate at the former Jeffersonian Publishing Plant that Thomas E. Watson built in 1910. The site has been demolished so nothing remains on the surface. However, below the ground lie many artifacts waiting to be found by budding archaeologists.

Exploring Joara

Exploring Joara sponsors a hands-on summer camp in Morganton, N.C., where campers excavate a 16th-century Spanish colony site that disappeared 400 years ago. Working alongside professional archaeologists, kids age 8 and older perform hands-on activities, excavation, artifact analysis and watch ancient technology demonstrations. Teens help find new artifacts and learn to catalog them appropriately.

City of Alexandria

The city of Alexandria, Ga., has a rich history. To help cultivate interest in the past of the city, an archaeological summer day camp was established for kids ages 12-15. The camp provides teens the opportunity to work with a professional archaeologist at a real dig site in Alexandria. Students learn to excavate, catalog, record and process real artifacts using archaeology techniques. Students will learn about the city's past through analysis of the artifacts found and help uncover valuable historic resources.

About the Author

Tara West graduated from the University of Tulsa with a bachelor's degree in business administration and human resources. West specializes in parenting, green living and career development as a regular contributor at SocialMoms.com. She has been featured on a variety of websites including a childhood favorite, Reading Rainbow.

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