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A Kid-friendly Archaeology Resource Kit Is Being Launched Today As Part Of New Zealand Archaeology Week (April 27-may 5)

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A kid-friendly archaeology resource kit is being launched today as part of New Zealand Archaeology Week (April 27-May 5).

Collated by Dr Rosemary Baird, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Senior Outreach Advisor, based in Christchurch, the kit will be available on the Heritage New Zealand website for people to download and print free of charge. The kit includes posters, information sheets and an activity booklet.

“Archaeology activities are really popular with kids – we know this from our experiences running archaeology events over the years,” says Rosemary.

“There’s something about children being able to get hands-on with archaeology that brings the past to life. It’s fun and interactive – and a great way for them to learn.”

Several years in the making, the resource kit draws on input from a number of archaeologists, including those working for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, as well as staff members who manage its network of historic properties that are open to the public around the country. Museum professionals have also had input into the resource kit, including Rebecca Cox of the Mercury Bay Museum in Whitianga.

Rebecca believes archaeology is an important tool that helps the museum tell the stories of its rohe.

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“With my work on the HMS Buffalo shipwreck here in Mercury Bay, I developed a further understanding of how archaeology – including maritime archaeology – is an important part of our history, and really important for our local history,” says Rebecca.

“Using archaeology in our outreach programmes has been a game-changer for us here at Mercury Bay and the students involved are able to gain a better understanding and a love of history. Archaeology also ties in very nicely with the Aotearoa NZ Histories curriculum and so we link it wherever we can,” she says.

“I have really enjoyed collaborating with Heritage New Zealandon creating a resource that includes some of the archaeology activities that we have run here in the Museum and in our community. It is so awesome to know that these can be shared far and wide and we can grow another generation that have a love of history and all things archaeology!”

The activity booklet took several years to complete according to Rosemary – and for a very good reason.

“We kept adding to it as we were given more ideas and suggestions from people like Rebecca, as well as colleagues and archaeologists from around the country,” she says.

“What we have ended up with is something quite special that’s also been well ‘road-tested’ with children in a number of settings. I’ve been so grateful for the generosity of others in sharing their ideas and resources.”

The resource kit focuses on what New Zealand archaeologists really do and the skills they use.

“Archaeology is not just about excavating treasures from the past. It’s about sorting, caring for, and documenting artefacts. We want kids to have a go at interpreting artefacts and the context in which they were found so they can think about how people lived in New Zealand many years ago,” Rosemary says.

The resource kit includes detailed, practical set-up instructions for teachers, staff at galleries, archives, libraries and museums, as well as parents. The activities also can also be linked with different subjects in the New Zealand curriculum including science, art and Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories.

People wanting to learn more about how kids’ archaeology activities work in real life can download a new Aotearoa Unearthed podcast episode featuring a conversation between Rebecca Cox and Rosemary Baird about running archaeology activities for kids.

Download the Kids Archaeology kit documents here:

Archaeology for kids | Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

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