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Excavating Occaneechi Town

Archaeology of an Eighteenth-Century Indian Village in North Carolina

Edited by R. P. Stephen Davis Jr., Patrick C. Livingood, H. Trawick Ward, and Vincas P. Steponaitis

Copyright © 1998 by the University of North Carolina Press. All rights reserved. ISBN 0-8078-6503-6 (cd-rom & booklet).


Excavating Occaneechi Town contains a teaching tool (called the Electronic Dig) designed for students. It begins with a blank excavation grid and allows students to "excavate" the site by clicking on a square and thereby opening it. As students excavate, they are given access to all the information associated with the squares they have opened--including descriptions, photographs, drawings, and tabulations of all the key finds. Moreover, students can be required to excavate within the constra ints of a budget, which forces them to grapple realistically with questions of sampling. The Electronic Dig can be adapted to almost any level of instruction. For example, teachers in elementary schools can simply allow their students to explore the s ite and encourage them to talk about artifacts as they "find" them. College professors, on the other hand, can devise much more complex exercises for their students, exercises that might involve sampling decisions about where to "excavate" or statistic al analyses of the excavated data.

Below is a description of the Electronic Dig and suggestions for how it might be used. A comprehensive guide to using the Electronic Dig, called the "Electronic Dig Tutorial," is available from the Electronic Dig screen on the CD-ROM.

The Electronic Dig

The Electronic Dig chapter has two components. The first is a pair of tutorials: the Archaeology Primer and the Electronic Dig Tutorial. The Archaeology Primer acquaints students with basic archaeological field methods and the kinds of archaeological r emains found at Native American village sites in Piedmont North Carolina. It contains text written for students with a middle school level of comprehension, photographs of archaeologists working at Occaneechi Town and other North Carolina archaeologica l sites, and video clips of basic field methods employed by archaeologists. The Electronic Dig Tutorial offers students easy instructions for using the Electronic Dig to re-excavate Occaneechi Town.

To sample the tutorials that are available on the CD-ROM, follow the links below:

The Electronic Dig allows students to plan and undertake their own excavations at Occaneechi Town, using the computer. The students start with a blank grid that covers the site of Occaneechi Town. They select the units to be excavated. Then, when they give the command to excavate, the computer uncovers each unit and provides students with photographs, descriptions, and lists of artifacts that were actually found when that unit was first excavated. Once an excavation unit, or square, has been reveal ed on the computer screen, the student can then excavate any archaeological feature located within it simply by clicking on it with the mouse. Students can print a map of their excavation or save in a file an inventory of all artifacts found during th eir electronic excavation.

Excavating Modes

Two budget modes--unlimited and limited--are available in the Electronic Dig. The choice of which mode to use depends on the grade level of the students and the sophistication of the course work. The unlimited budget mode allows students to choose as m any excavation units as they wish. This mode is recommended for situations in which students are being encouraged to acquaint themselves with archaeology, as it allows them to explore the site without restrictions. The limited budget mode imposes limit s on what can be excavated by requiring the students to work within the constraints of a predetermined budget consisting of both an hourly wage and an overall project spending cap. In this mode, it is important to plan the excavation carefully, because normally it will not be possible to excavate the entire site. This mode is recommended only for serious archaeological students and provides a context for learning about archaeological sampling and inference. For more information, see the section lab eled "Excavating Modes" in the README.TXT file on the CD-ROM or on the web site.

If you are interested in purchasing copies of the CD-ROM for classroom adoption, please call 919-966-3561, ext. 243 or send an email query.

Also, the Advanced Installation Guide for Librarians and Educators is available as a booklet and on the web to help a librarian, educator, or systems administrator install Excavating Occaneechi Town on a variety of system configurations.

From Excavating Occaneechi Town, a CD-ROM for Windows / ISBN 0-8078-6503-6 / $45.00 / Published for the Research Laboratories of Archaeology by the University of North Carolina Press / Home Page

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