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In their study of archaeological resource conservation, students will use guided imagery to discover and judge an alternative way to enjoy artifacts without removing them from archaeological sites.


For the teacher, a copy of Guided Imagery.


In her book Everybody Needs a Rock (1974), Byrd Baylor expresses the wonder in finding a rock and pondering its source.

“Always sniff a rock,” she says. “Rocks have their own smells. Some kids can tell by sniffing whether a rock came from the middle of the earth or from an ocean or from a mountain where wind and sun touched it every day for a million years.”

Baylor suggests an atmosphere for this experience: “When you are looking at rocks don’t let mothers or fathers or sisters or brothers or even best friends talk to you. Don’t let dogs bark at you or bees buzz at you. But if they do, don’t worry.”

To hold a rock in our hand that may have been created millions of years ago sets our imagination in motion. We can transport ourselves back to the time and surroundings of its creation. We can journey with it through time, imagining what other beings might have touched it or used it. Mystery and intrigue are the forces at work in our mind, and many times we want to keep this mysterious object in our possession.

This same mysterious power is held within the artifacts made by the early peoples of North Carolina. Finding an artifact like a beautiful Palmer spear point (see above) made by Archaic people connects us with those humans in a way that books cannot. We can almost sense them, and we desire to know them. What made them laugh and cry? How did they spend their day? As our minds travel back in time and connect to the people whose objects (artifacts) we hold in our hand, we desire to keep the object.

It takes discipline to leave something in its place when we desire to keep it. This exercise will suggest a way for students to learn to control that desire to own an artifact.

Setting the stage

Share the analogy of finding a rock from the Background. You might want to have students bring their favorite rock to school and share its significance with others.


  1. Explain that students will be taking a journey inside their minds. The purpose of this journey is to suggest an alternative for appreciating found artifacts without taking them home. Encourage students to relax their bodies, either in their chairs or lying on the floor, and to close their eyes. You can help create the mood by turning the lights off and softly playing appropriate music.
  2. Read Guided Imagery.


Have students share what they saw, experienced, felt, or thought during the guided imagery in a discussion, a cooperative team share, a drawing, or a song. Encourage students to suggest many ways to enjoy an artifact without taking it from a site. Examples: draw a picture of the artifact, write a poem or song, compose a story, take a photograph, bring someone else to the site to see the artifact, describe your find to someone else.

North Carolina curriculum alignment


Grade 4

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.02: Use oral and written language to:
      • present information and ideas in a clear, concise manner.
      • discuss.
      • interview.
      • solve problems.
      • make decisions.
    • Objective 4.03: Make oral and written presentations using visual aids with an awareness of purpose and audience.


Grade 4

  • Goal 3: The learner will trace the history of colonization in North Carolina and evaluate its significance for diverse people’s ideas.
    • Objective 3.04: Compare and contrast ways in which people, goods, and ideas moved in the past with their movement today.


Grade 4

  • Goal 5: The learner will understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.
    • Objective 5.01: Recognize that art can serve more than one purpose and/or function in a given culture.
    • Objective 5.02: Make responses that are both knowledge-based and personal (objective and subjective).
    • Objective 5.03: Compare works of art from different times and cultures.

North Carolina Essential Standards



Grade 3

  • 3.H.2 Use historical thinking skills to understand the context of events, people and places. 3.H.2.1 Explain change over time through historical narratives (events, people and places). 3.H.2.2 Explain how multiple perspectives are portrayed through historical…