stonhenge homeschool

Learn About Ancient Monuments with Mr. Campbell!

Archaeology of the Ancient World with Phillip Campbell

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by ancient monuments like Stonehenge. I wondered how Stone Age people could have constructed such a massive structure—how, without modern technology, did they hue such massive stones out of the rock, drag them into place, position them, and lift them on top of one another? How long did such an endeavor take, and how many people were involved? Most intriguing of all, for what purpose was it built? Was it a royal enclosure? Was it some sort of ancient temple? Was it an astronomical structure, like a gigantic clock or calendar? When I was 18, I was privileged to visit Stonehenge (and another neolithic site called Averbury), and seeing these monumental sites in person only heightened their allure and mystery.

Well, fast-forward a few decades, and I have translated that youthful inquisitiveness into an online course for Homeschool Connections! This spring, I will teach a fascinating high school course called Archaeology of the Ancient World. This is an ancient history course that is meant to come before the Dawn of History. In other words, this is a history course that looks at elements of human culture before the rise of civilization in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and elsewhere. Since these ancient peoples did not have writing, our studies focus on archaeology, the primary way we learn about prehistoric cultures. Archaeological principles will be discussed and demonstrated in case studies of some of the world’s most famous ancient sites. Students will put their learning to work by writing a paper on an archaeological site of their choosing.

Here is an outline of the content we’ll be covering:

Class 1: Foundational Principles of Archaeology
Class 2: Earth Movers (Prehistoric Mounds)
Class 3: The World of Pottery
Class 4: Dolmens and Megaliths
Class 5: Cut Stone Masonry
Class 6: Ancient Burials
Class 7: Epigraphy (the Study of Inscriptions)
Class 8: Jewelry and Metalwork
Class 9: Ancient Weaponry
Class 10: The Tells of Canaan
Class 11: Turkey’s Çatalhöyük
Class 12: Mohenjo Daro (Indus River Valley)
Class 13: A Visit to Crete

This is a generalized high school course, so it is open to 9th to 12th grade (no middle school students, please). You should note, however, that this course may be challenging for students who struggle with reading. The textbook is somewhat technical and introduces a lot of terminology very specific to the discipline, so a decent aptitude for reading is recommended. If your child isn’t the most robust reader, however, and they’d still like to take the class, I’d say give it a try, and I can make accommodations.

The textbook is Archaeology Essentials, 2nd ed, by Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn (ISBN 9780500289129). At the time of writing, there are dozens of copies available for under $5.00.

Some other pertinent information:

Class dates: Thursdays, January 11 to April 18, 2024. (No class Feb. 15 or March 28)
Starting time: 4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 Central; 2:00 Mountain; 1:00 Pacific)
To register: Visit the registration page on Homeschool Connections.

So, if you are looking for a world history credit and want something a little out of the ordinary for your child, I highly recommend Archaeology of the Ancient World. It will be a fantastic class studying some of the world’s most fascinating prehistoric sites.

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