Members of ECORP’s cultural resources staff recently joined other local professionals and scholars at the Fifth Annual Archaeology Fair held at the Hidden Valley Wildlife Refuge in Riverside, California. The Fair is a celebration sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and the Riverside County Parks and Open Space District in observation of International Archaeology Day, held each year on the third Saturday of October. The local AIA Society and other participants organized a very successful community-wide event promoting public education in archaeology, support of archaeological research and field work, and preservation of archaeological sites.
ECORP archaeologists Wendy Blumel and Andrew Myers organized a delicious hands-on activity that assisted visitors in examining the earth’s strata and how archaeological sites form and become buried over time. Archaeological features, artifacts, and other evidence of past human activities can become buried with soil over time when sediments are transported and deposited by the earth’s natural processes. What is the best way to recreate this process to delight a public audience? Give them a recipe for candy-laced archaeological deposits layered between depositional episodes of chocolate cereal and then let them excavate (eat) through the various levels to discover the hidden ‘artifacts.’
Having first appeared at the Archaeology Fair in 2014, ECORP’s educational, interactive, and tasty booth continues to be very popular among kids and adults alike, resulting in positive feedback from both the public and organizers of the event. The team has received requests to duplicate this fun and easy lesson at future community-based events, and the educational flyer, “How Archaeological Sites Form,” is now being used by teachers through the Heritage Education Program in Riverside County (https://heritageedu.com/). ECORP’s cultural resources staff looks forward to continued participation in future events promoting public understanding of archaeology.