Skip to main content

Preschoolers dig archaeology at ASU mock excavation

Preschoolers dig archaeology at ASU mock excavation

April 17, 2017

In an effort to get young kids excited about the field of archaeology, Arizona State University held its first-ever mock excavation exercise Monday on the front lawn of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change building on the Tempe campus.

Preschoolers from ASU’s Child Development Laboratory had the chance to feel different types of animal bones and listen to a book about woolly mammoths, in addition to everyone's favorite activity — digging through sand to search for bags of bone-shaped candy. 

"I think the kids loved digging and exploring," said Kelly KnudsonKnudson is also an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change., director of the ASU Center for Bioarchaeological Research. "At this age, they don't already know if they like science or not. Getting them to understand at such an early age what science is will help create more leaders in the science community and teach them that science can be fun."

A handful of student volunteers were also on hand to assist in everything from shuttling kids to the site of the dig to explaining what bones belong to which kind of animals.

"I think getting to do hands-on things with kids like this is exciting," said bioarchaeology graduate student Sofia Pacheco-Fores. "A lot of the time we'll take them on lab tours to show them what we're doing, but that's kind of abstract. Doing a fake dig or mock excavation is more real to them." 

The excitement was visible all morning. Smiles crossed the preschoolers faces as they dug with both hands and trowels in search of a tasty treat, and the sound of laughter filled the air as they learned about prehistoric beasts. 

For preschooler Mathias Knudson-Krantz, the opportunity to take home a bag of sugar made the day memorable. 

"I love excavating for candy," he said through a wide grin.

More Science and technology


A group of people posing around the Arizona State University sign on the ASU Tempe campus with Old Main building in the background

ASU expands hands-on lab opportunities for online biochemistry students

As a New York City autopsy research coordinator, Stephanie McQuillan saw her continued education as a gateway for career advancement. Juggling full-time work in New York, McQuillan thrived in the…

Headshot of Petr Sulc

Blueprints of self-assembly: New design technique advances nanotechnology

Many biological structures of impressive beauty and sophistication arise through processes of self-assembly. Indeed, the natural world is teeming with intricate and useful forms that come together…

Three people sit at a table signing documents

ASU assists Panamanian microelectronics development efforts

Arizona State University continues to expand its efforts to support the development of the semiconductor workforce and supply chain on a global scale. On April 30, Panamanian President Laurentino…