Necessities of life

Submitted by Sammy Smith (


Look around on the Arkansas Archeological Survey website, and you will find some wonderful educational materials (downloads here).

We particularly recommend a compilation called “Necessities of life,” which discusses pottery, food, and clothing, among other interesting topics. Although the examples are from Arkansas, there’s considerable overlap with Georgia’s past and material culture.

On page 22 of the “Necessities of life” document, the text examines the purpose of clothing:

The most obvious answer that springs to mind is probably protection. Indeed, clothing does provide protection for the human body, from warming us in the winter to protecting our skin from burning in the summer. Shoes protect our feet from stones, leggings deflect briars, and scarves can help us breathe in a sandstorm. It is not surprising, then, to find that the environment in which we live makes a difference as to the kinds of clothes we wear.

Do you agree? Do the clothes you’re wearing right now reflect the particular environmental conditions where you are? Why or why not?

The document also includes instructions on making sock moccassins (adult permission and help necessary for youngsters).

The two-page outline “Five essential concepts to teach in archaeology education” raises excellent points. The five concepts it highlights are:

Concept 1: Cultural Systems are the Focus of Anthropological Study.

Concept 2: Awareness of the Past is a Fundamental Element of Archaeological Study.

Concept 3: Archaeology is the Scientific Study of Cultures, Based on Their Material Remains.

Concept 4: Humans Affect and are Affected by Cultural Resources.

Concept 5: Stewardship of Archaeological Resources Saves the Past for the Future.

Download the full document and read the amplifying information.

Would you emphasize different essential concepts? Why?