Hi! Iím Christina Elson, an archaeologist at the
American Museum of Natural History. I work with the
ancient cultures of Mexico. Being an archaeologist
is a lot like being a detective: we decipher clues to
learn about people of the past and the way they
lived. Think of all the things archaeologists have
discovered about ancient cultures. For example,
today we know a lot about the Aztec religion because
archaeologists uncovered their most important
temple under modern Mexico City.
Now it's your turn to investigate an "artifact" and record your observations in a field journal!
But how do archaeologists find out things about
people and cultures that disappeared hundreds
or even thousands of years ago? We examine
the objects they left behind. Every object, or artifact, provides important clues about
the people who used it long ago. We closely observe every discovery, record
important information, and think about what each artifact tell us about the people who
Many things, such as food and clothing, disappear over time. Fortunately, some things, like pottery, stone, and
architecture, can last for centuries. Why do you think some things last and others donít? What is more likely to survive
for hundreds of years, a wood tool or a stone tool? Does it matter how something gets buried?