Discover the past through evidence from an archaeological site in Kansas!
In this investigation students will use geography, history, and archaeology to learn about the earthlodge and the Pawnee people who lived in them. Examine historic photographs, artifacts, and maps of a Pawnee Earthlodge located in Kansas. Students meet Warren Pratt, a Pawnee tribal member, through reading a biography and oral histories. They then “uncover” a real archaeological site, classify artifacts, and infer how the geographic area of the Central Plains shaped the earthlodge. Explore the use of traditional earthlodge architecture today.

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"The earthlodge was a house, but it was also a special place." - Mr. Warren Pratt, Pawnee Tribal Member

"By using Investigating the Pawnee Earthlodge I feel students are forced to train their brains to question the world around them. This program lends itself to teaching students how to dig deeper and question new and different things. The thing I like best is that there really isn't an answer to some of the questions; it is left up to interpretation... it is good for students to think deeply about a culture, time frame, artifact, etc. and to be rewarded by knowing they gave it their all and used all the evidence that they could to come out with a result." - 4th grade teacher, Overland Park

Instructions for the Teacher:
The teacher’s document is 23 pages, consisting of background information and four sections corresponding with the student notebook. It includes a brief history of the Pawnee Tribe. Quadrant maps from the archaeological site are provided for students to study and use.

Student Archaeological Notebook:
The student notebook is 25 pages of articles and activities about the Pawnee Earthlodge. Mr. Warren Pratt guides students through the investigation. Through archaeology, the study of historic photographs, and oral histories students learn about the importance of the earthlodge in past and present communities.


When you buy Investigating a Pawnee Earthlodge 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 Pawnee Earthlodge 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