• Audience
    Primary school, Secondary school
  • Learning stage
    Stage 3, Stage 4, Stage 5
  • Learning area
    First Nations, History
  • Type
    Teaching resources

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Objects and sites from the past can tell us about the peoples who used them. Archeologists use dating techniques, scientific analysis and supplementary historical sources when investigating objects and sites to support and develop our understanding of the past.

The science and technologies of First Nations peoples can be seen in some of the objects on display in Unsettled. In this activity, you will be looking at some objects and sites and making some predictions with any historical information. You will then be provided with some evidence to help you narrow down your predictions on what these objects are and how they were used.

  • An archeologist is someone who studies the remains of past civilisations and human activity through the analysis of artefacts, objects, landscapes and architecture.
  • Archeological sites are areas where this material evidence is preserved and recovered. It may be found on or below the surface of the land. The layering of this material can help archeologists understand the series of events, peoples or civilisations that once lived at this site.
  • The Australian Museum Archaeology Collection holds around 2,000 objects and materials obtained from Aboriginal archaeological sites in New South Wales.

  1. What do the features and qualities of an object or site tell you about its use?
  2. Can you make accurate predictions about the use of objects without any historical information?

  1. Divide your class into three groups. Using the downloadable PDFs below, hand out a report sheet and a single object sheet to each group. Don't hand out the information sheets until students have had a chance to make their predictions about the object.
  2. Ask each group to fill in the worksheet, up to Question 4.
  3. Once groups have made their predictions and responded to the questions, hand out the corresponding information sheet to each group. With the information sheet they will be able to finish the worksheet and assess their predictions.
  4. Ask each group to nominate a speaker to present on their object. They should describe what their initial predictions were, where the object was found, what it is made for and what evidence from the information sheet helped them understand more about the object's use.


Ask your students what surprised them about these objects and how close their overall predictions were.

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