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  • Digging Into Early Georgia

    Archaeologist John Worth of the Fernbank Museum of Natural History takes us on a dig at Raccoon Ridge near Madison, in Morgan County. He explains how the shapes, designs, and the composition of artifacts can be interpreted to tell the story of native cultures.

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    Discuss

    1. Why do historians and archaeologists want to know about earlier civilizations?

    2. Why is archaeology more like Sherlock Holmes than Indiana Jones?

    3. What conclusion can you draw from the meaning of the name that Native Americans called Georgians: "people greedily grasping after the lands of the red man"?

    Expansion

    1. Why do historians and archaeologists want to know about earlier civilizations?
    Learning about how earlier civilizations lived will show us how far we have come in developing our own civilization - the way we live. It will show the way they used what was around them to make their life easier. It tells us from where - and how far - we have come.

    2. Why is archaeology more like Sherlock Holmes than Indiana Jones?
    Indiana Jones was a seeker of lost treasures just for the sake of putting them in museums or in exchange for money. Sherlock Holmes used clues to put together the puzzle of how something occurred. An archaeologist combs through dust, mud, and scum to uncover the tiniest artifacts in order to understand how early people lived. This makes an archaeologist more like Holmes than Jones.

    3. What conclusion can you draw from the meaning of the name that Native Americans called Georgians: "people greedily grasping after the lands of the red man"?
    The contact with people other than themselves was not generally a good one. Georgians seemed to want the land of the red man more than they wanted to be friends with them. It must have given the Native Americans reason to believe that all Georgians were like this - greedy and selfish.

    Vocabulary

    archaeology: the systematic study of past human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining material evidence, such as graves, buildings, tools, and pottery
    archaeologist: an anthropologist (scientist) who studies prehistoric people and their culture
    artifact: a man-made object; especially a tool, weapon, or ornament of archaeological or historical interest
    radiocarbon: a radioactive isotope of carbon, especially carbon 14, used to date artifacts
    chert: an impure, massive, flint like quartz or hornstone, of a dull color

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Why do historians and archaeologists want to know about earlier civilizations?
    Learning about how earlier civilizations lived will show us how far we have come in developing our own civilization - the way we live. It will show the way they used what was around them to make their life easier. It tells us from where - and how far - we have come.

    2. Why is archaeology more like Sherlock Holmes than Indiana Jones?
    Indiana Jones was a seeker of lost treasures just for the sake of putting them in museums or in exchange for money. Sherlock Holmes used clues to put together the puzzle of how something occurred. An archaeologist combs through dust, mud, and scum to uncover the tiniest artifacts in order to understand how early people lived. This makes an archaeologist more like Holmes than Jones.

    3. What conclusion can you draw from the meaning of the name that Native Americans called Georgians: "people greedily grasping after the lands of the red man"?
    The contact with people other than themselves was not generally a good one. Georgians seemed to want the land of the red man more than they wanted to be friends with them. It must have given the Native Americans reason to believe that all Georgians were like this - greedy and selfish.

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