Child in Archaeology Dig

Photo by Ben Gibbs

Family Programs

Archaeology Field School

A Summer Day Camp

Tuesdays and Wednesdays, July 16, 17, 30, 31, 10:00 am–3:00 pm

About the Program

Adventure awaits! Don’t miss this summer series of fun daylong camp sessions focused on archaeology of the ancient world. At the Skirball’s Archaeology Field School, you’ll journey back in time to study ancient writing, trade, and even tombs!

Junior archaeologists, ages 8 to 12, will learn how archaeologists make discoveries about the past and practice excavation skills at our outdoor, interactive 1,500-square-foot dig site and field research tent.

Each of the four sessions focuses on a unique area of archaeological study and culminates in a related hands-on project. Sign up for one or more days of your choice. Sessions can be attended consecutively or nonconsecutively. No previous experience required.


Tuesday, July 16: Ancient Writing—Did you know that before there was writing people communicated with pictures? Writing has been around for a long time, but it has changed a lot over the years. In this session, junior archaeologists will learn about the development of writing in the ancient Near East: from Cuneiform and Hieroglyphics to Proto-Canaanite and the Phoenician alphabet. Junior archaeologists will discover how people in the past used the development of writing to communicate and create their identity.

Wednesday, July 17: Relative Dating—How old is “ancient”? How do archaeologists know how old an artifact is? In this session, junior archaeologists will learn about the geographical and archaeological law of superposition and absolute dating, then participate in relative dating activities such as counting tree rings. (No prerequisite session.)

Tuesday, July 30: Artifact Analysis and Illustration—You might think an archaeologist would be disappointed if they found a broken piece of pottery, called a “sherd,” because it is incomplete. However, an archaeologist can do so much with that sherd! In this session, junior archaeologists will be introduced to different types of ceramics from ancient Near Eastern civilizations and learn about why ceramics are some of the most common finds at an ancient dig site. Junior archaeologists will even learn how to use tools and mathematical methods to illustrate a complete artifact using only a single broken piece. (No prerequisite sessions.)

Wednesday, July 31: Burial Practices—In this session, junior archaeologists will view our very own replica of the Khirbet el Qom tomb in the Skirball Discovery Center. Then they will learn about different burial practices of ancient civilizations of the Near East and Mediterranean regions, including ancient Israel, Greece, and Egypt. Many ancient tombs contained treasures that tell us a lot about people in the past. Inspired by these buried treasures, junior archaeologists will create time capsules comprised of objects of their choosing to spark curiosity and understanding in future generations. (No prerequisite sessions.)