The study of Archaeology at Junior Cert level is a vital piece of supplementary background work for the students who wish to achieve highly. It is important as a teacher of History to demonstrate the genesis of all the information we are providing. Archetypally, in the first year of the History course, it is important to relate to the students as to how the information they are learning was acquired. Such a task is necessary given the areas usually covered in first year. Areas such as the Stone and Bronze Age, The Celts and in the Study of Pompeii in Ancient Rome, the necessity to have a grounding in the recovery of artefacts is vital for any student of the History Course. The study of Archaeology at Junior Certificate level, usually in the first year of the cycle is also one which can be seen as more practical to the students who are not literary gifted. As Gardener, would argue in his theory of Multiple Intelligences, there are different classes and styles of learners. By the creation of a sand or soil pit, filled with artefacts, the study of archaeology can be presented as a more practical and applicable tool, rather than a theoretical section to be learned. This, granted, is entirely dependent on the resources of the school and the behavioural aspects of your class. Through creative use of resources and a determination to create an inclusive learning environment, the sub-section of Archaeology can integrate a wide variety of learners and spark a continued interest in the subject.
In terms of examinations, it is a section that can show up in both Higher and Ordinary level of the paper. Typically, in the ordinary level paper, Archaeology is focused on in terms of the excavation. In the past, questions such as the 2011 short questions section, have featured some reference to Archaeology: Give one method used by archaeologists to locate sites for excavation. (2011 OL) and State one way that archaeologists decide where to dig. (2011 OL). In the Higher-level course, they take a slightly altered approach. While predominantly focusing on the excavation of a site, it also makes reference to the dating of artefacts. In the 2009 Higher level paper students were asked: Name two methods of dating which an archaeologist would use to date objects found on a site? While in more recent exams, the 2013 paper asked for students to Name two instruments which an archaeologist would use to excavate a site. The pitching of level is clear in terms of each of these exam protocols. While students at an ordinary level capacity should be content in knowing basic facts around the excavation of a site, higher-level students are required to understand the work of the Archaeologist in determining the age profile of an artefact and the specific details of safely uncovering the artefacts.
With further reference to the exams and areas where this topic is likely to come up, it is interesting to note the appearance of An Archaeologist at Work in the 2015...