The “Old Pueblo Educational Neighborhood” (OPEN3) program allows children and adults to learn what archaeology is all about by excavating in “OPEN3,” a full-scale model of an archaeological site. The OPEN3 site is a “simulated dig” that archaeologists have constructed to resemble a southern Arizona Hohokam Indian village ruin. It has full-size replicas of prehistoric pit-houses and outdoor features that the Hohokam used for homes, cooking, storing things, and other (sometimes surprising) purposes.
The archaeologists have buried thousands of artifacts at the OPEN3 dig site, including authentic prehistoric pottery, stone tools, and seashell jewelry. Children and adults participating in the OPEN3 program get to learn and practice techniques that archaeologists use to excavate real archaeological sites. They are also exposed to scientific interpretations about what ancient people looked like, what they ate, how they constructed their houses, what language they spoke, what they believed in, and how they created beauty in their lives.
Old Pueblo provides all equipment and supplies needed for the program, and shade is provided for the outdoor activities. However, participants must wear protective clothing that includes long pants, a hat, and shoes that completely cover the feet (no sandals, thongs, or other open-toed shoes, please). Sun block lotion is also highly recommended.
Just as real archaeologists don’t collect ancient artifacts for themselves, OPEN3 dig participants do NOT get to keep any of the artifacts they dig up. Though some of the artifacts buried in the OPEN3 site are modern replicas of ancient artifacts, most of them are authentic prehistoric items, some of which are on loan to Old Pueblo Archaeology Center from the Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona.
For a foldable brochure that provides details about the OPEN3 program please [click here].
For children 8 years and up. For program details, call Old Pueblo’s office at (520) 798-1201.
The OPEN3 program is funded in part by the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area.
After her Kino School junior high students took part in the two-part, five-hour version of the OPEN3 program on April 10 and 16, 2012, teacher Chris Schulz sent the following letter to Old Pueblo:
Re: Old Pueblo Archeology’s simulated excavation and analysis of Hohokam ruins
From: Chris Schulz, teacher at Kino School, 6625 N. 1st Ave, 520-297-7278
This semester I brought a group of 11 junior high students to Old Pueblo and I would like to express my appreciation for their program. My students got a vivid local history lesson that made a real impression on them, as opposed to what they would have gotten out of just reading about it. We felt the experience of digging, mapping and analyzing the artifacts found in situ, in such an authentic replication of both the site and the methods, gave the students a genuine feel for archeology as a science and inquiry into the history of people. Sherry [E]Isler was excellent with the kids and her experience in the field made the experience that much more interesting and educational. It is hard to find educational experiences that are as authentic and accessible as the one provided by Old Pueblo. Thank you and I hope the program continues to serve our community as an important teaching resource.
Sincerely, [Signed] Chris Schulz