Discover the past through evidence from a historic farmhouse in Montana!
In this investigation, students use geography, history, and archaeology to learn about a historic farmhouse and the Tinsley family who lived there.  Examine historic photographs, artifacts, and maps of the Tinsley House located in southwest Montana. Students meet Jackie Thompson, a descendant of the Tinsley family, through reading a biography and oral histories. Then they “uncover” a real archaeological site, classify artifacts, and infer how the geographic area of Montana shaped the historic farmhouse and the life of the Tinsley family. Explore the use of traditional farmhouse architecture today.



"Very hands-on which raises the interest level and therefore the retention of material increases." -Montana Teacher

"The book, Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter is such a fantastic resource and very teacher friendly. The layout will make it very easy to implement, everything needed is there!" -Montana Teacher

Instructions for the Teacher:
The teacher’s document is 32 pages, consisting of background information and four sections corresponding with the student notebook. It includes a brief history of the historic farmhouse. Quadrant maps from the archaeological site, Tinsley House located in southwestern Montana are provided for students to study and use.

Student Archaeological Notebook:
The student notebook is 28 pages of articles and activities about the Tinsley House. Ms. Jackie Thompson guides students through the investigation. Through archaeology, the study of historic photographs, and oral histories students learn about the importance of the farmhouse in past and present communities.


When you buy Investigating a Historic Farmhouse 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 Historic Farmhouse” 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