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Bringing the Past to Life -- Chicora's Education Programs

Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either. -- Marshall McLuhan

At Chicora we take these words to heart -- if we can't entertain a student, we can't educate them. So our programs are designed to include interesting visuals and hands-on materials. We encourage students to engage in critical thinking and analysis -- they will come away knowing facts and knowing how to pose questions to explore the answers in greater depth:

  • Unlike standard museum programs, we bring the program to you -- at your convenience. No scheduling buses, no permission slips, no substitute teachers.
  • Everything we bring, your students can touch.
  • Our programs offer a unique educational experience, yet our costs are affordable -- averaging $1 - $4 per student.
  • These are the only programs of such a variety in South Carolina -- and they are always presented by a "real archaeologist" -- a professional archaeologist working in the state of South Carolina for over 15 years, with experience working with children since 1975.

Our Programs

Prehistoric Motifs -- 3rd-5th grades -- Examining pottery designs of prehistoric South Carolina Native Americans

Students examine and handle actual pottery fragments, each with a different design, and learn how the prehistoric Native Americans of South Carolina created those designs. Following the discussion, students will participate in the school's choice of activity: (1) students recreate the designs using clay (re-usable, 1" ball of clay) and tools, each student may keep their clay, or (2) students recreate the complicated stamped designs with rubber stamps on paper bags, each student may keep their "Indian design" bag.

Three Cultures of South Carolina -- 3rd - 8th grades -- How the first three cultures of South Carolina contributed to our lives today

Students learn how European-Americans, African Americans, and Native Americans contributed to South Carolina history and culture by handling archaeological artifacts from all over the state, examining photographs and drawings of the different types of houses each group lived in, followed by a discussion of their contributions to our language, place names, and foodways.

African-American Archaeology in South Carolina -- 5th - 12th grades -- Archaeological artifacts  of African Americans found in South Carolina

Students get a closer look at the lives of African Americans in South Carolina by handling, examining, comparing, and discussing archaeological artifacts from slave and freedmen sites. Students will learn what the artifacts can tell us about the past, as well as the importance of both written materials and oral histories from their own families.

General South Carolina Archaeology -- 5th - 12th grades -- Archaeological artifacts found in South Carolina

Students get a closer look at the archaeology of South Carolina by handling, examining, comparing, and discussing archaeological artifacts from plantation and Native American sites. Students will learn where, when, what, and how artifacts and archaeology can tell us more about our history.

Archaeological Analysis -- Advanced 5th - 12th grades -- Detectives of the Past

Small teams of students examine artifacts from an important site in South Carolina; through that analysis and use of resource materials, teams then compete to correctly deduce the county, town, time period, and function of this site, and why it is important to South Carolina history.

Guess What's Coming for Dinner? -- 8th - 12th grades -- How do archaeologists know what Indians ate? (science and math components)

By examining and handling animal and plant materials, the students will gain an understanding of how archaeologists are able to determine the foodways of the prehistoric Native Americans. In the discussion of the different types of foods and how they are collected and prepared, students will also be introduced to an understanding of Native American social groups.

Forensic Archaeology -- Restricted to high school only -- What can bones tell us? (math and science components)

By examining and handling bones and photographs, students will gain an understanding of how the archaeologist can determine sex, race, and age of human remains, from archaeological sites to crime scenes.

The Mummy Returns -- 5th - 12th grades -- Egyptian Mummies

Drawings, photographs, and replicas are used to explain what Egyptian mummies are, how they were made, and what they can tell us about an ancient civilization. Discussion includes "the Curse of King Tut's Tomb" and who Imhotep ("The Mummy") really was.

Program Guidelines -- What you need to know before registering for any of Chicora's programs

Class size is limited to 20-25. We must limit class size in order to allow each student enough time to touch and examine artifacts, participate in an activity, and join in discussions. Our programs are not designed for auditorium presentations to large groups.

Grade restrictions are firm. Some of the programs for younger students are not challenging enough for older students, and certainly the topics restricted to high school students are too mature for the younger students, despite their academic ability.

Registration for programs is done by phone only. Because Debi Hacker, a professional archaeologist, presents all of these programs, you must speak with her to arrange for programs. This ensures there are no conflicts with other schools or her work schedule.

You must provide a map and directions to your school, as well as a letter of commitment. To ensure that there are no misunderstandings as to time, location, program title, and number of students, you must fax or mail these items as soon as possible after registering for the program.

Payment must be in advance or a purchase order number provided. This prevents misunderstandings with the school or PTO requesting the program.

Education Boxes must be returned in a timely manner. If you choose to keep an available Education Box for your class to use, it must be returned to us after one week, so that it can go on to another class. When you schedule a program, be prepared to notify us of how and when you will return the box to us. Most teachers in the area surrounding Richland County will probably find it most convenient to return the box to our office in person. Others may choose to return it by UPS (insured) at the school's expense.

Please contact us regarding special needs students. Most of our programs are readily adaptable for students with learning disabilities and/or physically/intellectually/emotionally impaired students.

Making arrangements. Arrangements must be made directly with Debi Hacker, who handles all of our education programs. Naturally she is very busy and it may take a few days for her to contact you, but she will. You can call 803-787-6910 or email Debi Hacker.


The costs of our programs are:

  • $100 per day for schools in Richland, Lexington, Calhoun, Newberry, and Fairfield counties, between the hours of 9:00am and 4:00pm
  • $100 per day plus 0.45 mile in all other counties, between the hours of 9:30am and 3:30pm

In these times of tight budgets we're are glad to provide these programs to teacher groups and/or PTOs, to introduce them to the subject and provide incentive for raising interest/funding for classroom programming. Of course, these may be scheduled for teacher work days or late afternoons (or early evenings for Richland or Lexington counties).

Do you have Field Programs in Archaeology?

When it is possible to schedule field trips to one of our sites we always welcome visitors and provide educational programs on-site. We can't usually, however, plan this in advance simply because we often don't know what site we'll be working on more than a few weeks in advance. But, if you are interested, let us know and we'll be happy to keep you on our list to contact when we're doing work in your area.

Do You Allow Volunteers?

Yes, we always welcome volunteers. There are insurance and medical requirements, but if you are interested, let us know. 

A Few Links

One good link for finding news articles on archaeology is Anthropology in the News. Just be careful to verify the accuracy of the articles!

An interesting link that provides information about Native groups around the world is Native Web.

Don't see what you Need?

Please call us at 803/787-6910 or contact Debi Hacker -- we'll be happy to work with you to develop a program to meet your needs.


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