The word “archaeologist” may conjure up the image of Indiana Jones in romantic, faraway places, but the most exciting archaeological discoveries are under our feet right in our Georgia backyard. Archaeologist John Worth of the Fernbank Museum of Natural History takes us on a dig at Raccoon Ridge near Madison, in Morgan County. Worth’s work is closer to another fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, as he combs through the dirt, mud, and scum to uncover the tiniest artifacts in order to understand how the earliest Georgians lived. He explains how the shapes, designs, and the composition of artifacts can be interpreted to tell the story of native cultures. Worth conveys the excitement of finding and being the first person to touch an artifact that was last touched by a human during the Ice Age. Through archaeology, Worth has learned that while there are many cultural differences between us and the people he has studied, there are also a lot of similarities!
Teacher tip: While archaeologists are most commonly thought of studying the ancient past, this profession is frequently called upon to examine our modern past. Start a file on Georgia archaeology and ask students to contribute to it when they hear or read about archaeology being used in Georgia and more is learned about the state’s history as a result.