Virtual Classroom Visit with a Harvard Student Archaeologist

Grades 3–12

students excavating harvard yard.Harvard students excavate Harvard Yard for colonial-era artifacts.

Available Free through May 2022 for Groups of Ten or More Students 

"We've received positive feedback from families about the presentation! He was very easygoing, yet prepared. He was informative, yet spoke in a kid-friendly way. He fielded the questions with ease and positivity. We were very pleased with our experience!”—Teacher, Grades 3–5

"We are doing fiction and non-fiction, and this tied in nicely!...Thank you all for giving our students this experience."—Teacher, Grades 3–5

"We had a visit from an archeology PhD student who had a focus on pyramids in northern Africa. She sent us a video of herself before [the visit] to provide background—she introduced herself, what she was studying, and what she was going to present to us so the kids could build their background knowledge and see a face...My students were extremely engaged – they were full speed ahead into it."—Teacher, Grade 3, Cambridge, MA

Program Description

What is archaeology? Why is it important to know the past and the methods used to interpret it? What questions are answered by archaeology? How do you become an archaeologist?

Invite a Harvard archaeology student to your class to discuss how they study the human past and what they are learning. Each student speaker will share a short video in advance about their work and respond to student questions via video call. Interview an archaeologist and bring your social studies to life.

How to Reserve a Free Virtual Classroom Visit with a Harvard Student Archaeologist

Registration opens October 4.

  • Teacher selects a Harvard student archaeologist presenter
  • Teacher completes this form with a choice of dates and times
  • The museum contacts the teacher to discuss details
  • The museum sends a confirmation email and the video link for student viewing
  • A day in advance, the Harvard student calls the teacher to introduce themselves
  • On the reserved day, the Harvard student responds to the teacher’s video call

Harvard Student Archaeologists and Their Topics

Andrew Bair with ground-penetrating radar at excavation.

Andrew Bair: Castles and Ground-Penetrating Radar (Ireland)

Discover a fourteenth-century Anglo-Norman castle in Ballintober, County Roscommon, Ireland. Andrew explains how he uses high-tech field equipment at the site, including ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry, global positioning systems, and more.

smiling dalyn grindle in wide outdoor empty space.

Dalyn Grindle: Ancestral Shoshone Group Hunting (United States)

Tumble off a “buffalo jump”. Dalyn is investigating peoples' relationship with animals by studying an ancient buffalo jump, a land feature where the animals were driven off a cliff during group hunting by the ancestors of the Shoshone people. It was used for 2,500 years in Wyoming. This work will add to her understanding of the ways Indigenous Americans managed their natural resources.

sarah loomis portrait.

Sarah Loomis: Offerings in Ancient Tombs (Mexico)

Descend down a Mexican shaft tomb with Sarah. She focuses on the site of Los Guachimontones in Jalisco, Mexico between 200-900 CE. Sarah analyzes cemetery and household goods to learn about the roles of women and men, and discusses humans who became "gifts" to the gods—human sacrifices. 

kristen peason smiling on a camel.

Kristen Pearson: Wandering Herders (Mongolia)

Discover an elite woman’s burial with a horse mummy, her complete set of clothing, and her 1,500-year-old “Adidas” footwear! Kristen studies textiles like clothing from medieval rock burials to learn more about the households of ancient nomadic and herding communities from Mongolia.

meilina seabrook working with excavated objects.

Melina Seabrook: Reading the Bones of Ancient Meat Markets (Mesopotamia)

DIscover how a trained eye can read ancient bones for clues about our earliest civilizations. Melina studies the formation of the world’s first cities from 5,000 years ago in Ur (ancient Iraq) and how the people were fed. Was there a single, huge, food “factory? Did many farms all pitch in?

harvard students excavating harvard yard one smiling to camera.

Paul Tamburro: Colonial College Life (United States)

See how old trash becomes a modern treasure. Paul explains how archaeology in Cambridge, Massachusetts reveals college student experiences for both Indigenous and Anglo students during the colonial period. There are many additional online resources for this topic.

Fee

The program is free to all groups of ten or more at schools nationwide through May 31, 2022. You will be asked to complete a brief online evaluation after your program.

Scout troops, after-school programs, camps, and extracurricular learning pods may book a program for a $25 fee for 10–50 youths. Payment in full is required one week before the program.

Duration

Harvard student videos to be screened before the live virtual discussion vary in length. Live virtual classroom visits are thirty minutes.

About the Harvard Student Archaeologists

These students model curiosity, approachability, and enthusiasm for archaeology topics and careers. All have worked with the public at annual Amazing Archaeology at Harvard fairs and enjoy meeting families and others to talk about their work. Most teach sections of archaeology classes to college students and many have been interested in archaeology since elementary school. Most have undergraduate coursework or degrees in anthropology, and most are advanced in their graduate studies with several seasons of fieldwork experience. Typically, an archaeology student spends 5–7 years (post BA) getting their doctorate.

Benefit for Harvard Students

Speaking to your students is also an opportunity for Harvard students. Many teach college classes using college-level language. But in the field, to the media, and in grant proposals, they need to use everyday language to explain what they are trying to learn, how they will undertake their work, and how it may help the community at the research site. Developing these professional skills with your students improves their own career prospects.

About Archaeology

Archaeology is the scientific study of human cultures, based on their material remains. It is both a process that follows the scientific method and a source for knowledge. Like linguistics, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology, archaeology is a subdiscipline of anthropology, which is the comparative study of humankind and human behavior.

Harvard has two museums devoted to archaeology: The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. Founded in 1866, the Peabody Museum is of the oldest and largest museums in the world focusing on anthropological material from the Americas. The Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East erected in 1903 holds collections from Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Cyprus, Israel, and Tunisia. Harvard students may use the collections in both museums for their own research.

See K–12 classes from all the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture.