Making A Field Journal

Christina Elson

Now it's your turn to investigate an "artifact" and record your observations in a field journal!
What You'll Need
What To Do
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.

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 used it.

Lost In The Ruins
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?