Kids Dig Archaeology Blog

Buon viaggio!

Dr. Arty Fax’s Archy Facts is a blog introducing kids to the exciting world of archaeology!

Domenico Stinellis/Associated Press

Pack your bags for Italy! For the first time in its history, the underground areas of the Roman Colosseum are open for the public to explore! This series of tunnels and chambers, called the hypogeum, worked like a backstage for the events taking place in the arena above. Gladiators and others were held here and many times raised up to the arena floor through a series of lifts and trap doors. This allowed the actors, wild animals, and gladiators to suddenly appear. Talk about some ancient special effects!

Archaeological RESTORATION is the process through which sites are protected from further damage and returned to how they were in the past.  When visiting a restored site, always remember that what you are seeing is the archaeologist’s best idea of what it may have looked like (based on evidence of course!).  Many times structures will not be rebuilt but conserved.  CONSERVATION will preserve or keep a site how it was found, but in a way so the public can safely visit.

Photo: Sam Valadi

Emperor Vespasian built the Colosseum in 72-80 CE, the world’s largest amphitheater. His son Titus would hold the first games soon after, the last of which was in 523 CE. This grand arena could hold between 50,000 and 70,000 spectators, watching and cheering on the bloody and brutal games. Fights between gladiators, animals, and convicted criminals, as well as battle reenactments were popular during this time.

You may never want to see these gruesome games back in the day, but it sure would be interesting to walk the halls of the gladiators now!

To find out more about the Colosseum and the unveiling of the hypogeum, check out: Colosseum Opens Its Belly to the Public and 10 facts about the Colosseum! National Geographic Kids

Collections Research

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will identify, design, and conduct an original research project that uses the Center’s archaeological collections. The intern will formulate a plan for public dissemination of the project results as a journal publication, a museum exhibit, or a public class or lecture. During the course of the research and dissemination planning, the intern will receive training in research design, collections management, artifact analysis, and exhibit design and production as appropriate to the selected project.

Archaeology Lab Positions

Volunteers will prepare one or more archaeological collections for curation. Center staff will instruct the volunteer on archaeological laboratory procedures such as basic artifact analysis, manual and computer cataloging, storage requirements, and preventative conservation.

Volunteers work in the Center’s Research Library, cataloguing materials and organizing on a computer-based system.

Marketing and Administrative Volunteers assist the Development Office or Administration Office with data entry, updating marketing materials and clerical tasks. Computer experience is a plus.

Docents welcome visitors and answer general questions regarding the Center and exhibits. Docents staff the gift shop and help out with administrative and curatorial tasks.

Volunteers support event activities at the Center, such as the Annual BBQ, lectures, workshops, and fundraising events. Be a part of the party!

Volunteer provide support for K-12 programs offered at the Center. These are fun, hands-on programs that kids really enjoy. Teaching experience is a plus, but not required. Background checks are required.

Collections Management

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will prepare one or more archaeological collections for curation. During the course of the internship, the intern will learn to identify artifacts and ecofacts common to the San Diego region, including lithics, ceramics, historical objects, and faunal, botanical, and mineral specimens. Center staff will instruct the intern on archaeological laboratory procedures such as basic artifact analysis, manual and computer cataloguing, storage requirements, and preventative conservation. In addition, the intern will become familiar with historical trends in archaeological practice in the San Diego area and will be introduced to current legal and ethical issues in archaeological curation as well as the concerns and rights of culturally affiliated groups with regard to archaeological materials.

Development and Marketing

Under the direction of Center staff, the intern will support the department in various activities, including, but not limited to, fundraising and grant research; e-newsletter development; social media marketing; tour web app content creation, integration, and management; and website maintenance. This internship will give the intern valuable, real-world experience in non-profit fundraising and marketing.

Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology

Prospective Interns must have completed three courses: Introduction to GIS, GIS Database Management, and Intermediate/Advanced Methods in GIS. The intern will be assigned a project where they will create shapefiles and maps for curated archaeological collections, museum exhibits, and/or public outreach using ArcGIS 10.6. Center staff will instruct the intern on archaeological GIS laboratory procedures such as computer cataloguing, storage requirements, and database management.

Library Science

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will arrange and catalog materials in the Center’s library. During the course of the internship, the intern will take a leading role in the cataloging, sorting and storing of research files and creating user guides for these collections. Center staff will instruct the intern on archival procedures, computer cataloging, storage requirements, and preventative conservation.

Public Archaeology

With the assistance of Center staff, interns will research, design, and produce a project that educates the public about archaeology or a related field using the Center’s archaeological collections. Interns may create museum exhibits and related activities, develop curricula for K-12 programs in line with current content standards, or plan and present a public class or lecture. Per approval, special projects of the intern’s choosing are also available. During the course of the research and planning, the intern will receive guidance as appropriate to the selected project.