Archaeological dig at St Pius X High School

30 teachers from around NSW attended a professional development afternoon at St Pius X High School, Adamstown, which focussed on giving teachers the skills and confidence to set up mock archaeological digs.

On Monday, the school community welcomed Melissa Riley from the History Teachers Association to run the session.

The session involved a presentation on how to set up the excavation area, what artefacts you need to create for an authentic dig experience, what tools and processes students need to use and how to bring it all together back in the classroom.

The day saw the construction of an Ancient Egyptian burial site – a simple commoners grave from Ancient Egypt - which is suitable for students in Year 7 History, Elective History and Year 11 Ancient History to take back to the classroom.

The professional development afternoon is a new initiative of the History Teachers Association and aims to give teachers the tools to provide more hands-on and authentic learning experiences for their history students, with the hope of generating more interest of the subject.

Attendees learnt how to go about setting up the dig and understanding which artefacts to use, the narrative behind the dig and the placement of artefacts.

HSIE Coordinator at St Pius X, Amy Eccleston said, “I have been looking to provide students at St Pius with more opportunities to engage in History.

“When an old volleyball court was flagged for repurposing I requested part of it be allocated to the HSIE faculty for our archaeological dig space.

“Whilst just burying some artefacts in the sand and digging them out might be fun, I wanted to be able to provide students with a more authentic experience of archaeology.”

All of the History teachers from St Pius X attended the session and with the assistance of Ms Riley, buried artefacts in the allocated space. Students in Years 9 and 10 Elective History will be given the opportunity to excavate the dig and piece together the scenario later this term.

It is hoped other schools will take the new initiative on board in the future.

To find out more about St Pius X, click here

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Gabrielle Sutherland Image
Gabrielle Sutherland

Gabrielle Sutherland is a Marketing & Communications Officer for the Catholic Schools Office and a regular contributor to and Aurora.