Artifacts Tell a Story

Introduction by Erika Malo

Hannah is our newest intern at Project Archaeology. Hannah is a student in the anthropology department at Montana State University and we are happy to have her on our team. She has a passion for archaeology and wants to pursue a future career in museums. Her name will become familiar to our readers because she is helping us with our social networking sites and blog. Welcome Hannah!

Artifacts Tell a Story by Hannah Ludlow

For archaeologists, debitage, crumbling bones, and bits of artifacts are some of the most valuable materials they could find and handle. Many do not share this appeal. But, for those of us who love finding information in the dirt, these items are not just rocks or trash, these items are integral parts of the greatest story ever told, and a story archaeologists attempt to unfold and interpret every day.

Photo by Erika Malo

Everyone fantasizes about delving into the past as Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. Who would not want to be a famous archaeologist called to investigate paranormal, powerful sites and prevent world domination? Despite the theatrical action and inevitable destruction of said paranormal sites, today these fantastic stories often outshine the equally impressive true stories; and it is with these stories that we create our history that we love, cherish, and inherit. As we know, archaeologists often use seemingly mundane material remains to understand the past. That understanding translates into the construction of the past. For example, the location of bones, arrowheads, and stone tools at a bison kill site indicate where. By knowing the geologic composition of the area, we can infer if the tools were made from materials in the area or traded elsewhere. For example, if there are no obsidian deposits near the buffalo jump, yet we find many obsidian arrowheads, those who made and used these arrowheads had to make them or trade for them far from where they were found. Now, we know how the buffalo jump was used in greater detail.

Because of the artifacts collected, archaeologists can write a story of the cultures and people that inhabited this land and still do today. History is not as constant as we might like it to be. Discoveries like those made at our hypothetical buffalo jump continue to color and shape the past known today, or even change a well-rooted assumption about the past. Most of the work archaeologists do contributes to a larger story that grows and changes daily. Eventually, our own story may be unearthed and tell of our lives in the same way.

You can be a storyteller in your classroom! All our materials are 10% off from February 1, 2017 until February 14, 2017. Use the coupon code save10 in our shop https://projectarchaeology.org/shop