10th November 2006 at 00:00
Ages 7 to 11

Fishtank archaeology helps pupils to understand more about chronology and time periods, as they can see the different layers and the thickness of each. You will need:

A clear plastic box for each small group

"Artefacts" from different times (which the children could make from clay)

Potting compost

Play sand


Recording sheets

Strong food bags


Line the bottom of boxes with plasticine, to represent the bedrock (the layer before archaeology is found). Create a soilsand mix in bags.


We discussed stratigraphy (the layers of archaeology). We handed out the artefacts in chronological order. The children chose where to put them and what story to tell, which they record. They then create the next layer.


Swap boxes for excavation and interpretation. This emphasises how our interpretations differ from the "truth"






Archeology (DK Eyewitness Books) by Jane R McIntosh, DK Publishing (Jun 2000) A Street through Time by Anne Millard, Steve Noon, Dorling Kindersley (Oct 1998) Sarah Dhanjal Camden@UCL Young Archaeologists' Club

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today