MVAC logo

Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center





The following web sites were reviewed by teachers participating in Eisenhower Professional Development and Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title II grants. 


Site name: Effigy Mounds Online Teacher Guide
Produced by: Effigy Mounds National Monument
Grade levels: 1-12
Submitted by: Paula Charron

Effigy Mounds National Monument's On-Line Teacher's Guide contains teacher prepared lesson plans on Archaeology and Mound Builders. Lessons are organized into four categories; grades 1-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12. Very good information and ready to use lessons.

Back to List


Site name: Dig Magazine for Kids
Produced by: Cobblestone Publishing Company along with the Archaeological Institute of America
Grade levels: 3-12
Submitted by: Carol Howard, Janelle R. Nelson, Alice Toepel and JoAnn Goodness

Carol Howard overview and comments:
This is the web site for Dig, the archaeology magazine for kids. The grade level is upper elementary/middle school. There are quizzes, short articles from the magazine, a glossary, and a section for parents/teachers. By far the best part of the site is the alphabetical listing of other links to archaeology sites. Some of these links are lesson plans. I will be exploring this site with my students when we start our ancient cultures unit.

Janelle R. Nelson overview and comments:
This site called "Dig On Site" is actually based on a magazine that can be ordered on line. The site has colorful graphics, photos, puzzles, games, and hands-on projects. Also, it offers 33 dig quizzes, an ask "Dr. Dig" question link, fantastic archaeology facts, a glossary, many links and a parent/teacher link provides free online teacher's guides and lesson plans. The 60 plus archaeology links to museums, ancient cities, caves, petroglyphs, and much more gives students a wide range of web surfing opportunities. As a classroom teacher, you wouldn't have to spend a lot of time to find a link that applies to your curriculum that you are currently teaching. You don't have to subscribe to the magazine to find this site useful.

Alice Toepel overview and comments:
DIG magazine and website: DIG is a kids' magazine (with corresponding website) that teaches students about archaeology from around the world. With its enthusiastic text and lively format, my fourth graders would be certain to pore over its pages during "free reading" time.

JoAnn Goodness overview and comments:
This site uses colorful graphics and is easy to use. It offers an overview of the magazine itself, as well as quizzes, a glossary of archaeological terms, a list of links to important or informational sites, short articles from past issues, and a parent/teacher guide to using past issues of the magazine. The quizzes cover a wide range of "historical" information with immediate feedback. The definitions of terms were easy to understand, and the 3 articles I read were guaranteed to grab a student's attention.

Back to List


Site Name: Wisconsin Historical Society
Produced by: Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State St., Madison, Wisconsin, 53706
Grade levels: 3-12, teacher resource
Submitted by: Cory Olson and Danielle Renz

Cory Olson overview and comments:
The Wisconsin Historical Society website is created for all ages. The site map will allow you to go to various links about Wisconsin history. I went to the WisHis link and there was an interactive guide that takes you through the discovery of mammoth bones in Kenosha County. These bones are some of the oldest known fossils/bones that might be connected to people in Wisconsin. This would be great for younger children that are beginning to learn about archaeology. The site explained the discovery and why archaeologists know that hunters killed the mammoth. I also went to the link about underwater archaeology. This would be a link for older children. I found this fascinating because many children think of archaeology as working with dirt. The link was about shipwrecks and how scuba divers have discovered evidence of trade among Native Americans. This site can also be used for high school students and adults to do research on different topics. I do recommend teachers guide their students when using this website because a younger student would have difficulty picking appropriate links. The teacher would have to research the website to make the process of getting to a specific link easier.

Danielle Renz overview and comments:
The Wisconsin Historical Society web site offers research materials, historical photos, and detailed timelines about Wisconsin history and prehistory. This web site is an excellent teacher resource and may be a useful tool in the classroom. The "Connecting to the Classroom" feature allows teachers to choose from a broad list of Wisconsin history related topics and provides lessons and additional links for those topics. Teachers also have the option of checking out an "Archaeology Activity Box" which contains activities and materials for introducing students to the basics of archaeology. A special section on underwater archaeology also includes downloads, activities, and lesson plans. "Wisconsin History for Kids," is a component that provides links to other web sites and fun on-line activities for younger students. Resources such as activity guides, posters, and videos may be ordered directly from the Wisconsin Historical Society web site.

Back to List


Site name: Archaeological Parks in the U.S.
Produced by: This site was developed by the Arkansas Archaeological Survey and hosted by the University of Arkansas
Grade level: 4-6
Submitted by: Margaret Kearns

This web site gives you an overview of the archaeological parks throughout the country which have a web site. The purpose of this web site is to expedite finding internet information on individual archaeological parks. Criteria for this web site is predominately based on representation of Native American sites, mainly prehistoric or early historic. No strictly Euro-American sites were included because they tend to be identified as historic rather than archaeology sites. There are links from here that can take you to archaeological parks throughout the country. They are listed both by region and by state.

The links take you to the individual state archaeology park web sites, and are very good for students in 4th-6th grade doing any kind of research. They are written in a manner that is at a level easy for them to comprehend. Some of the sites have good primary source pictures for students to refer to also. It would definitely serve as a research site, because there are no activities listed to accompany them. Each link to the state web site varies because the web site is sponsored by the individual state’s DNR. Some provide more pertinent information than others.

I feel there is a lot of useful information for a student doing research in the study of archaeology, but that student needs to have the skills to pick and choose the appropriate information. I was disappointed there weren’t more archaeological parks listed for the state of Wisconsin. Otherwise, I feel there is a lot of valuable information connected to this site.

Back to List


Site name: Mammoth Mystery
Produced by: Historical Society of Wisconsin
Grade level: 4-8 - This site could be used as a supplement to any grade level. The lower grades would need a little more information given to them. The higher grades will be able to get by with less help.
Submitted by: Ellyn Thibodeau and Mike Peacy

Ellyn Thibodeau overview and comments:
The Mammoth Mystery would be appropriate for 4th -5th graders. It was put together by Dan Joyce an archaeologist at the Kenosha Public Museum and guides students through a study of the Paleo-Indians.

Mike Peacy overview and comments:
The main purpose this site is to take students through the process of archeology by taking an event they may know or have heard about. This site is based on the Mammoth that was found in Kenosha County. It is very interactive and takes the students step by step through the process. There are points where the students have to make decisions and if they are wrong it explains why it is wrong.

I really enjoyed this site because of the interactive nature of it. The students I did this site with really thought it was pretty neat. After you are done with the site it gives you a certificate for solving the Mammoth Mystery. The other thing I liked is that you can use it for any grade level. The higher grades can certainly use it by themselves and get a lot from it. The lower grades will probably need a lot more assistant so you could even do it as a whole class project. It is a lot of fun.

Back to List


Site name: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Produced By: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Grade levels: 4-12
Submitted by: Jim Juech

Wisconsin has a mound site known as Aztalan. This site has undergone many different scientific examinations over the last few decades. The results of those examinations varied from Aztalan being the home of cannibals to being an outpost for a larger culture to the South. These different interpretations sparked my curiosity about the Mississippian culture. Cahokia is the name of the main center, which is located in Illinois. This website is a colorful introduction to Cahokia and the Mississippian culture.

When you open to this State of Illinois run page you have a choice of nine different areas.

The site tour and map area is the best spot to see what the features of Cahokia are. It allows some comparison with the mounds found in Wisconsin. The color pictures of Cahokia’s features and the satellite view make this section really interesting to the lay person. Each picture has a description of the feature. A history of the archaeology/research of each site is presented here also. Monks Mound has an update that brings you the latest fieldwork that has been done at the site. The other pictures do not have as much detail as Monks Mound but are presented in the same manner with the background of the archaeology that has taken place at each site.

The archaeology and links sections help the viewer to more clearly understand the Mississippian culture. Both sections help lead you to more information if you want to do further research into this very fascinating group of people.

The Interpreting Cahokia area is more of a list of the areas in the visitor center. This section presents the questions that are asked in each visitor center area, but it does not answer the questions.

The other areas are links to the museum society, visitor information, the gift shop, a welcome section, and an events and programs listing. Each contains more specific information on that topic.

I was able to visit Cahokia this summer. This website did an excellent job of preparing me for what I would see and why I would want to see it. Students or teachers would be able to use this website easily. The photographs and artwork could be used in a classroom with a display device connected to the Internet. The background information presented would an excellent starting point in any student research project.

Cahokia is an important part of a major culture in Wisconsin. This site allows anyone to see that importance.

Back to List


Site name: Wisconsin Historical Society: Wisconsin Archaeology
Produced by: Wisconsin Historical Society
Grade levels: 4th-12th Grade
Submitted by: Matt Regan

This is a very comprehensive site with information for all ages. There is a section titled "Archaeology Is:" that does a great job of explaining what archaeology is, the goals of archaeology, and what archaeological sites are. There is also a section called "Cultural Overview" that does a nice job describing the four cultural periods of archaeology in Wisconsin. Another section explains the laws associated with archaeology and archaeological sites. There are many other sections of the site that would be very useful for both teachers and students. I think the best part of the site allows teachers to check out Archaeology Activity Boxes. The boxes contain teacher guides, a field activity, and a lab activity.

Back to List


Site name: Celebrating African-American Archeology and History
Produced by: The National Park Service and the Southeast Archeological Center
Grade levels: 6th Grade (also can be used for younger and older students)
Submitted by: Dorothy Exum

The opening page of this site states the following: "It is impossible to imagine our world without the contributions of African Americans. Be it language, art, technology, food, or music, African Americans have made a prodigious and immutable mark on American culture." I was immensely impressed by this site and immediately bookmarked it. The site has 6 items to investigate and learn additional information. The first is a 19th century slave cabin in NW Louisiana that was the subject of an archeological expedition. The second site is Cumberland Island Archeology where testing of Slave Cabin ruins were completed from May 25 to June 26, 1999. The third area to explore concentrates on oral history and follows through with things like slave narratives. The fourth item is information on "Zabette" an Opera with Archeology connections. The fifth and sixth items are information related to published books on Savannah River and Fort Benning.
However, the biggest find for me was the annotated links that dived the country by focus areas (National, Southeastern U.S., Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S., Middle U.S., Western U.S.). I was able to view the Middle U.S. Focus that had a link to Milwaukee, Wisconsin African American Collection, which had numerous surprises for me although; I have been in Milwaukee all my life I spent hours exploring.

The last thing you could connect from the site was the Underground Railroad information that is a project of the Southeast Archeological Center. This is a wonderful site for anyone with an interest in Archeology but an awesomely informative experience for anyone with an interest in African American history.

Back to List


Site name: Archaeology
Produced by: Archaeological Institute of America
Grade levels: 6-12
Submitted by: Jeff Hansen and Myra Kay Bahan

Jeff Hansen overview and comments:
This website offers a wealth of information about archaeology around the world. Teachers may find it helpful in providing background information as well as exposing their students to what’s going on in the world of archaeology. Overall this is great resource for introducing kids to the extensive field of archaeology and how it impacts our ability to learn about the past.

Myra Kay Bahan overview and comments:
It looks like fun. I just went to a couple of places, but they show real digs going on all over the world. There are introductions to every dig. It gives you enough background material to get you interested in what is taking place this month (or in the last few months.) This includes the significance of the findings.

There are interviews with archaeologists and reviews on books, and shows on archaeology.
It has latest breaking news in archaeology (like you would see on CNN) but with more in depth explanations.

I think this would be a great site to assign to students as a journal entry source. It could be required that the students explore one article or topic, once a week, and turn it in as a journal entry.

Back to List


Site name: The Archaeology Channel
Produced by: Archaeological Legacy Institute
Grade levels: 6-12, teacher resources available
Submitted by: Kristin Nelson

This site has current archaeology events as well as past information. It also has audio and video clips. I think that this will help motivate students to look through the site. This site has national as well as international information and articles. The teacher resources are numerous. There are lessons as well as places that you could contact for more information. I felt very comfortable moving around and exploring this site. I think that students would too.

Back to List


Site name: Art History Resources on the Web
Produced by: Dr. Christopher L.E.C. Witcombe; Sweetbriar College, Art History Dept.
Grade levels: 6-12
Submitted by: Margie Hylkema

This is an extremely comprehensive site that offers a vast menu of art history resources categorized geographically and by time periods. Prehistoric North American Art gave a thumbnails visuals and brief information with additional links and sources of art imagery. The information was helpful for understanding timelines in art history and getting basic visual examples of period art.

Back to List


Site name: The Cave of Lascaux
Produced by: French Ministry of Culture and Communication
Grade levels: 6-12
Submitted by: Sonia Evans

The Cave of Lascaux website is dedicated to the most famous ancient cave paintings ever found in France. Visitors to this site can view it in four different languages: English, French, German, and Spanish. It is very easy to navigate. Although the site is for anyone interested in cave art, it has information extremely useful for both teachers and students who study early man and ancient civilizations.

The Home Page offers two main links: Discover and Learn. The Discover section of the web site allows the visitor to see how the cave was formed over time. Diagrams, photos, images, and a timeline help put in perspective the age of the paintings. The timeline is illustrated with pictures of comparable prehistoric cave art found throughout France. One unique feature of this timeline is that many of the paintings are hyperlinked to their corresponding separate web sites. Additionally, the viewer can find in the Discover section information regarding the cave’s discovery, and reasons why it was closed in 1963. A virtual tour of the different cave rooms will leave the viewer with a better understanding of this great achievement by early man.

The Learn section deals with the artistic analyses and scientific studies of the cave art. Interpretation of the artwork, the recurrent themes throughout the cave, and the techniques and tools used by these early artists are explained in this section. Questions regarding how cave paintings are dated and what is causing them to deteriorate are answered here. Visitors can test their knowledge with interactive fun activities.

Other minor links found on the Home Page help the viewer with navigation of the site, offer information for optimum viewing, and acknowledge supporters and contributors who are experts in their fields.

There is a good balance between the amount of text found on each page and the illustrations. The average sixth grader can easily read and understand the information presented. Some technical words are highlighted. The definition pops up when the cursor is placed over the word. Overall, I would highly recommend this site to everyone, but especially to teachers and students. It is truly a very complete web site. The layout, the ease of navigation, the visual display of images and illustrations, all contribute to make it a perfect site to use in the classroom.

Back to List


Site name: Society for American Archaeology
Produced by: Society for American Archaeology
Grade levels: 6-12
Submitted by: Mike Johnson

This web site seemed to have a lot of information and opportunities for teachers with newsletters and workshop opportunities. A place where they are really trying to make the arch/ed connection.

Back to List


Site name: Virtual Dating
Produced by: This site is a part of the Virtual Courseware for Earth and Environmental Sciences Project and is produced and maintained by the faculty of California State University, Los Angeles.
Grade levels: 6-12, depending on how it is used
Submitted by: Cheri Awtrey

The Virtual Dating site has three options for the user. These are Virtual Dating Isochron, Virtual Dating Radiocarbon, and Virtual Dating Demo. For the first time user, the Demo link is a must. Here one has the opportunity to see the various activities that are a part of the Virtual Dating site. Of particular interest to those working with archaeology is the link to Virtual Dating Radiocarbon. This link takes the user through a series of explanations followed by questions and answers to explore the major concepts behind the process and meaning of radiocarbon dating.

The first set of questions deals with how Carbon-14 enters an organism and how it decays. The illustrations are handy (although a periodic table might be handy also when students are dealing with the first questions). Each time students answer questions they are either told which answers are incorrect and given the opportunity to correct their responses or are confirmed in their correctness with a quick summary of the ideas about which they have answered questions.

The second activity deals with a carbon-14 decay curve. This illustrates nicely how the percentage of the parent material decreases over time.

The third part deals with calculating the actual age of an object based on the length of the half-life of carbon-14 and the amount of carbon-14 remaining (indicating the number of half-lives that have passed by). This uses a half-life calculator that works very well. Students will need to be told to approximate their answers at this point.

The fourth part deals with converting ages from BC/AD to BP time. This can be a difficult concept for students and this site makes it relatively clear with some fairly concrete examples-including some dendrochronology.

This particular site is probably best used on a large screen as a group presentation to help with the discussion-especially with younger students. Even older students may find parts of the interaction challenging.

Back to Link

Site name: Archaeology: Interactive Dig Brooklyn
URL: and
Produced by: Archaeological Institute of America
Grade levels: 7-12
Submitted by: John Tribys

It features an interactive dig of an eighteenth century house occupied by a Dutch family on outskirts of a then growing city of New York. The excavation took place over a four year period ending in 2001. It features a lesson on stratigraphy, explanation of tools and the numbering system used at sites. The site makes the point that archaeology is not all underground. The walls and floors reveal some interesting aspects about the Lott's House past such as the fact that they had owned slaves and that a forgotten room revealed that their slaves continued to practice African religious rituals.

The other site is now under re-construction and dealing with the restoration of the house.

Back to List


Like us, Follow us

Like us
Follow us

[ Site Map ]

Back to the
UW-L Homepage

Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
1725 State Street, La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 U.S.A.
Phone:  608-785-8463, Webmaster

All material Copyright © 2000-2014 Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

*MVAC Educational Programs are supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
*This project was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation.