Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Cake Archaeology Dig

Quentin set up an stratified archaeological dig for James to dig up. 
He used three cake layers, each of a different flavor and color (we used butter, chocolate and caramel.) 
You could use non-toxic, non-melting objects and candy and bake them directly into the layers, or you can do as Quentin did and add toy artifacts after the layers have been baked, and before they are stacked to create the site. You can use any sort of "artifacts" that you have around the house, or you can select them to teach any concepts about the history of the cake site and the story behind the artifacts. Artifacts may also be replaced with laminated images of real artifacts. Make sure you note how many (and perhaps what) items you have buried so you can be sure that all of them have been retrieved.
He carefully cut a rectangular burial chamber, the length of the tiny skeleton, into one layer. You could line it with jelly beans or candy stones, but he decided just to provide it with burial goods. 
He then plugged the chamber up with the remaining cut-away cake, leaving the surface of the burial chamber.
For the Middle Layer, he gently pushed several small artifacts into different areas of the cake. 
For the Top Layer, he gently push small items into the cake.
He then stacked the cake in the three layers. He added a plastic tree stump for the very top of the cake. We considered adding graham cracker crumbs to the top of the top layer to simulate dirt, but decided against it.
We left one side exposed and cut off a slice of cake about an inch from the edge to reveal the stratigraphy.

During excavation, I had to remind James to go slowly, 
staying within one layer.

He saved the preserved finds in bags labeled with the layer number. 

A description and sketch of each artifact can be included in the dig's requirements. 
Don't be surprised to find out that cake is messy and it is not easy to dig, but the remains, once you are sure all the artifacts are retrieved, can be enjoyed with some glaze and ice cream.

Quentin's (age 9) notebook
 The last part of this project is to document it just as real archaeologists do.
James' (age 12) history notebook page

Source: Archaeological Institute of America


  1. I think it's a brilliant and fun idea, especially for boys :)

  2. THat is so much fun. You have the most wonderful ideas.
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. Oh man, my kids want to do this now, they saw your post and thought it looked really fun.

    And Superman would like to know where you got the skeleton from, he wants one.


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