View Full Version : Ideas for making an archaeology seminar interactive
July 24th 2004, 06:13 PM
I'm not entirely sure if this is the right forum for this, but it seemed the most appropriate, so here goes...
I'm preparing a seminar for a Christian camp on the topic of 'External evidence for the Bible', and given the audience is mostly 14-17 year olds I don't think they'd appreciate a 45 minute lecture, so I'm trying to think of ways to make it more interactive. The focus is supposed to be on archaeology and extra-Biblical authors. Lacking inspiration myself, I thought I'd ask on here to see if any of you have any bright ideas, or even pointers to materials online.
July 24th 2004, 06:20 PM
Are you an archaeologist? If so, you could teach them about survey and analysis with an activity. Or you could talk about stratigraphy and dendrochronology--or other dating methods that fit into your archaeological paradigm...
What kinds of external evidence will you be discussing?
This sounds like a fun project--there are so many different ways to teach archaeology--but before I offer any more suggestions, I'd like to know what specifically you are discussing (so I don't point you in the wrong direction...)
July 25th 2004, 09:17 AM
I don't have any archaeological training myself, I've just read a fair bit in this area so got volunteered:) An activity such as you mentioned would be great, but I'm not sure if I could do it.
The aim is to give an overview of what sort of evidence is available, how much it says, that sort of thing. Then if individuals are interested they have a bit more of an idea of where to look for themselves. I was thinking of mentioning a few examples of archaeological sites related to the OT and NT, a section on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a bit about authors such as Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus & Pliny. I'd like to point out that there are many different interpretations put on pieces of evidence, and so you can't claim as much from it as some Christians & non-Christians would like!
July 25th 2004, 09:55 AM
Im only a student of archaeology so i dont know how much my suggestion would help, but it might be fun to do something like comparing the OT accounts of the events in egypt not just the exodus but like what it says about the lifestyle and customs etc with other accounts of egyptian history and archaeology and see how well they match up.
Or like maybe try and trace the path of the exodus by reading the accounts and examining the archaeological evidence.
Anyway these are just my suggestions but obviously iv never done anything like a seminar before so i would be just as clueless as you so good luck!
July 25th 2004, 04:59 PM
Another suggestion might be for the group to break up into several different teams: give one set of groups a translation of the Moabite Stone and have them outline the major points and come back and tell the history; have the other group do the same thing with 2 Kings 3 (these are two different accounts of the same events).
July 25th 2004, 11:14 PM
I don't know how much time you have to prepare, or materials available.
SO I'll just asume that all is possible.
First is some reading,
Any college level introduction to archaeology,
and both of the following (Finkelstein and Silberman are the priority):
2001 "What Did the Biblical Writers Know & When Did They Know IT?: What Archaeology can tell us about the reality of ancient Israel" Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Finkelstein, Israel, Neil Silberman
2001 "The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts" New York: The Free Press
Next is for the kids:
Archaeology in a box.
plastic shoe boxes (1 for every two kids)
sand (damp) to fill the boxes
flower pots, 1 per box (broken in 2inch diameter pieces)
chicken (or other) bones, 4 or 5 per box (boil and clean bones first)
charcoal bricquetts 1 or 2 per box (crushed)
2 spoons per box.
Notebook paper and pencils for each kid.
Put a 1/2 inch (2 cm) layer of sand in the bottom of the box.
Scatter the bones on top of the sand.
Fill with ~3 inches of sand.
scatter the crushed charcoal.
Fill with ~ 3 inches of sand.
Press the broken flower pot sherds into the top layer of sand.
Have the kids excavate the boxes with their spoons taking notes etc. as either you have described, or however they want. Have the kids describe the "cultural sequence" that was revealed by their excavation.
July 25th 2004, 11:21 PM
Being in that age group myself, my voice is law on this matter.
I like the idea of the Moabite Stone and the Kings thing. You could also try making some sort of graphic of a place like Jericho, showing all of the layers and asking what the kid people think happened based on it. Maybe the destruction of a city, for instance. ;) Just try not to make it look school-like (unless your audience came at their own will), or you might get a lot of day-dreamers wondering where the summer went.
July 27th 2004, 11:06 AM
Thanks for all your suggestions guys.
I like the idea of the Moabite Stone and the Kings thing.
I like that one as well, so I'm going to use it. I also like Dr.GH's suggestion, but I don't think I'll have enough time to do it. Maybe next year...
Just try not to make it look school-like (unless your audience came at their own will), or you might get a lot of day-dreamers wondering where the summer went.
It is an optional session, so hopefully those present will have at least some interest in the topic. I'll still aim to dispell the school image though :)
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