The Scout Merit Badge Program at the Archaeological Research Institute (ARI) offers an exciting and educational experience for scout groups interested in archaeology and local history. The program allows scouts to earn merit badges, NOVA Awards (for Cub Scouts), or STEM Career Exploration badges while engaging in hands-on activities and learning from professional archaeologists.
The program begins at ARI’s Base Camp, where scouts gather to receive an Introduction to Archaeology talk. This talk provides an overview of archaeology, explaining the archaeological process, artifact dating techniques, and the laws and regulations that protect archaeological sites. It sets the foundation for the day’s activities and introduces scouts to the importance of preserving and understanding our cultural heritage.
After the introductory talk, scouts proceed to the Guard Archaeological Site, where they participate in a 2-hour field experience alongside trained archaeologists. This hands-on experience allows scouts to actively engage in uncovering artifacts and learning about the archaeological methods used to analyze and interpret them. It offers a unique opportunity to discover the history and stories of the people who lived in the area.
Following the field experience, scouts enjoy a lunch break to recharge before moving on to the experimental archaeology portion of the program. This segment offers a range of interactive activities that provide a glimpse into ancient techniques and technologies. Scouts may have the chance to try their hand at atlatl throwing (a spear-throwing tool), flint knapping (the art of shaping flint into tools), basket making, pottery, archery, gardening, copperworking, and more. These activities not only deepen scouts’ understanding of past cultures but also foster an appreciation for the ingenuity and resourcefulness of ancient peoples.
Throughout the program, scouts are guided and supervised by knowledgeable archaeologists who provide valuable insights, answer questions, and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. The ARI Merit Badge Program offers a unique combination of education, hands-on experiences in the field and lab, and interactive experimental archaeology, creating a memorable and enriching experience for scouts interested in history, archaeology, and cultural preservation.
Wear hiking clothes that can get dirty. Bring plenty of water & snacks. Sunscreen, hats, bug spray, and sturdy shoes or hiking boots are recommended.