Discover the past through evidence from an archaeological site in Oregon!
In this investigation students will use geography, history and archaeology to learn about a wickiup and the Northern Paiute people who lived in them.  Examine historic photographs, artifacts, and maps of the wickiup located in Oregon. Students meet Minerva Soucie, a Northern Paiute tribal member, through reading a biography and oral histories. Then they “uncover” a real archaeological site, classify artifacts, and infer how the geographic area of Oregon shaped the Wickiup. 
Explore the use of traditional wickiup architecture today.

  • Includes text by and about a Northern Paiute tribal member
  • Supports Common Core State Standards
  • Incorporates authentic data for students to analyze



“The wickiup inside Dirty Shame Rock Shelter is quite large and well protected from the wind and rain. For these reasons, it was probably used by women and girls… The wickiup may have been used for giving birth. If someone died in a wickiup, it was usually burned. Some of my ancestors may have been born at Dirty Shame Rock Shelter and one of them may have died there.”—Minerva Soucie

“I think that this curriculum will be very powerful because it is rich in content, but also because it teaches and requires students to be critical thinkers.”—Teacher

Instructions for the Teacher:
The teacher’s document is 36 pages, consisting of background information and four sections corresponding with the student notebook. It includes a brief history of the Great Basin wickiup. Quadrant maps from the archaeological site, Dirty Shame Rock Shelter Site located in southeastern Oregon are provided for students to study and use.

Student Archaeological Notebook:
The student notebook is 32 pages of articles and activities about the Dirty Shame Rock Shelter Site. Ms. Minerva Soucie guides students through the investigation. Through archaeology, the study of historic photographs, and oral histories students learn about the importance of the wickiup in past and present communities.


When you buy Investigating a Great Basin Wickiup you will also receive the essential companion products: Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter and access to online introductory videos.

Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter provides teachers and students with seven fundamental lessons on shelter and archaeology. With this pre-requisite, students are ready for Lesson Eight, an investigation of a shelter from the past, such as the Crow Plains Tipi. Finally, in Lesson Nine of Investigating Shelter students learn the enduring understanding that stewardship of archaeological sites and artifacts is everyone’s responsibility. Taught together, Investigating Shelter and “Investigating a Great Basin Wickiup” is a complete, comprehensive unit that truly allows for a deep understanding of shelter and archaeology. More information

Investigating Shelter videos are a professional development experience for educators in lieu of attending a Project Archaeology workshop. Watch Project Archaeology lessons in action! See a professional development workshop and a teacher guiding a 4th grade class through Investigating Shelter. Instructors model Understanding by Design and archaeological inquiry. Plus, see interviews with teachers and students! The videos are also available on our Teacher Page.

    1. Introduction – Why archaeology matters
    2. Investigating Shelter and Understanding by Design
    3. Lesson Two: By Our Houses You Will Know Us
    4. Lesson Four: Observation, Inference, and Evidence
    5. Lesson Six: Context Game
    6. Lesson Eight: Being an Archaeologist