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ARI Kids: Experimental Archaeology

Event Description:

The Junior Experimental Archaeology experience at the Archaeological Research Institute (ARI) is designed for youth ages 5-11 who have an interest in archaeology and want archaeology hands-on learning. The experience occurs at the ARI Base Camp in Lawrenceburg, IN.

Upon arrival at the Base Camp, participants are greeted by a knowledgeable staff member who provides an introduction to archaeology and gives an overview of the ARI organization. This introductory session aims to familiarize young archaeologists with the field of archaeology and its importance in understanding past cultures.

The main highlight of the Junior Experimental Archaeology experience is the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities involving the recreation or use of reconstructed artifacts. These reconstructions allow participants to gain insights into how ancient instruments were made and how they might have been used in different contexts.

The specific activities offered during the experience vary, providing a diverse range of experiences for the young archaeologists. Some of the activities may include:

  1. Atlatl throwing: Participants learn how to use an atlatl, a spear-throwing tool used by prehistoric hunters, and try their hand at hitting targets.
  2. Archery: Participants get the chance to learn and practice archery skills, experiencing what it was like to use a bow and arrow in past times.
  3. Crafts: Participants engage in various craft activities inspired by ancient cultures, such as making jewelry, cave paintings, or creating clay figurines.
  4. Bipolar reduction: Participants learn the technique of bipolar reduction, a method used by early humans to shape stones into tools, by striking them with a hammerstone.
  5. Flint knapping: Participants learn the art of flint knapping, shaping flint or other types of stone into tools and weapons using traditional techniques.
  6. Gardening: Participants may have the opportunity to work in a simulated ancient garden, learning about ancient agricultural practices and growing their own crops.
  7. Lab activities: Participants engage in hands-on laboratory activities, such as cleaning and cataloging artifacts, identifying and sorting pottery fragments, or analyzing ancient plant and animal remains.
  8. Pottery: Participants learn the basics of pottery making, including clay preparation, shaping, and firing techniques, and may create their own small pottery pieces.
  9. Copperworking: Participants explore the process of copperworking, learning how ancient cultures manipulated copper to create tools, ornaments, or other artifacts.
  10. Elm bark basket making: Participants discover the traditional method of creating baskets using elm bark, a technique employed by various indigenous cultures.

These activities and more provide an immersive and educational experience, allowing young participants to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for archaeology and the ancient world. The Junior Experimental Archaeology experience at ARI encourages curiosity, hands-on exploration, and fosters an understanding of how people in the past lived and interacted with their environment.

How To Prepare:

Wear hiking clothes that can get dirty. Bring plenty of water & snacks. Sunscreen, hats, bug spray, sturdy shoes, or hiking boots are recommended.




Wednesdays & Saturdays 10am or 2pm


ARI Base Camp 126 W High Street Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

Age Requirement:


Activity Level:

Active (kneeling, standing for long periods of time, etc.)


1-2 Hours
Book Experience

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