Bringing archaeology alive in Saskatchewan

Watch above: A travelling archaeological class is hoping to uncover buried treasures in Saskatchewan’s north. 

SASKATOON- It’s archaeology on wheels and its next destination is northern Saskatchewan.

That’s the hope according to the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society, which has been bringing archaeology alive for thousands of kids throughout the province via a unique educational outreach.

The program is all about using the past to understand the present and help shape the future.

“We figured the best to do was to start this kind of travelling activity centre and take it around the province and to work with museums and communities to teach them about archaeology,” explained Karin Steuber, public outreach coordinator for the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society.

Otherwise known as the ArchaeoCaravan, summer staff help museums discover what’s in their collections, how old the artifacts are and how to properly display them so people get an idea of the 10,000 years of human history in the province.

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“It’s older than the pyramids in Egypt, it’s older than older ancient Greek and Roman civilizations not a lot of people realize that because we don’t have those examples of monumental architecture,” added Steuber.

Instead, what Saskatchewan has is on and in the ground.

“Whether it be teepee rings or buffalo jumps or stone tools, bones, ceramics and pottery but it’s there and it’s very, very old. So we want people to get an idea that it’s out there and get an appreciation for it.”

School groups are then invited to the museums for a hands-on experience.

“It gets those young minds thinking about the past and hopefully caring about it as well.”

Since its inception in 2012, the program’s summer students have visited over 80 communities in central and southern Saskatchewan and educated more than 4,500 students.

According to officials, that’s nearly 1,200 to 1,400 students on average every summer.

“Now we’re heading up into the north and because it is so large we split it into halves. So in 2015 we’ll be doing the northwestern portion of the province and the hopes of doing the northeastern in 2016.”

The award-winning program has now entered the CST Inspired Minds Learning Project contest to achieve this.

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“We’ll still work with those that have museums but we want to do a bit more community outreach so get people in those further northern communities involved because there is archaeology up there as well you know and help preserve it and to work with them,” said Steuber.

If they win, the money will be used for supplies and to offset the transportation and accommodation costs of the program which runs from mid-May to late July.

“We’re determined to do the north so we will find a way.”

Ideas that have qualified as finalists in the competition will be announced on Nov. 17.

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