If you’re looking to introduce a young archaeologist to some of the principles of archaeology, try this fun (and delicious!) activity for #InternationalChocolateChipDay! This cookie excavation will help children understand how important it is to be careful while excavating fragile artifacts. They will also learn how an archaeological excavation destroys a site, and why recording the location of artifacts is crucial to preserving archaeological knowledge. In this activity, the chocolate chips serve as the artifacts while the cookie serves as the archaeological site.
For this activity, you will need:
– Chocolate chip cookies
– Activity Sheet
- Give each child a cookie, activity sheet, and two toothpicks.
- Before starting the excavation, children should place their cookie on Grid A. Then draw the cookie, with all the visible artifacts (chocolate chips) included. This will be their record of the archaeological site.
- Excavate the cookies with the toothpicks, by carefully chipping away at the dirt (cookie) to slowly reveal any hidden artifacts (chocolate chips). Be careful not to damage the artifacts while excavating! For an added challenge, remind them that they should not pick up their cookies because archaeologists cannot pick up sites.
- For each “artifact” found add it to the drawing on grid B.
- At the end each child should have a pile of back dirt (cookie crumbs) and artifacts (chocolate chips), and their drawing of what they looked like before.
- Count artifacts; who has excavated the most?
- Eat the destroyed cookie!
What does this activity teach us about archaeology?
Archaeological excavations are a destructive process. When archaeologists have finished with a site, they have largely taken it apart piece by piece to discover its secrets. Unfortunately, this means a site, once excavated, can’t be excavated again. To fix this problem, archaeologists take lots of notes, drawings, photographs, and soil samples, and they write detailed reports so archaeologists in the future can come back to their excavations and learn even more.