Discover the past through archaeological and historical study of a site in California!
Investigating a Wintu Roundhouse incorporates authentic archaeological and historical research to teach students about the use and importance of the Wintu Roundhouse in the past and present lives of Wintu people.  In this investigation, students will use geography, history, and archaeology to learn about roundhouses in northern California and the Wintu people who used them.  Examine illustrations, artifacts, and maps of a Wintu roundhouse located in Redding, California. Students meet Ted Dawson, a Nor-El Muk Wintu ethnobotanist and educator, by reading a biography. Then they analyze historic records, “uncover” a real archaeological site, classify artifacts, and infer how the geographic area of northern California shaped the roundhouse. Explore the use of a roundhouse and the cultural correlations today.

  • Includes text by and about Wintu tribal members
  • Supports Common Core State Standards
  • Incorporates authentic data for students to analyze
  • Supports Common Core State Standards
  • Culturally Responsive Curriculum



"Project Archaeology is the Common Core" - California Council for the Social Studies Director

"They talk about 21st century skills being important in schools these days. Archaeology is a perfect way to teach kids how to think, how to look at things, and how to pull information from the world around them." -- Teacher Testimonial

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 Wintu people, engineering practices for constructing roundhouses, and a description of the Tanya archaeological site. Quadrant maps from the archaeological site, Tanya Site in Wyoming are provided for students to study and use.

Student Archaeological Notebook:
The student notebook is 34 pages of activities and photos of the Tanya Archaeological Site. Mr. Ted Dawson guides students through the investigation. Through archaeology, the study of historic photographs, and detailed descriptions students learn about the importance of the roundhouse in past and present communities.


When you buy Investigating a Wintu Roundhouse 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 Wintu Roundhouse” is a complete, comprehensive unit that truly allows for a deep understanding of shelter and archaeology.

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