Teacher's Guide for DIG TM Homer's WorldJanuary 2004
Teacher Guide prepared by: Alyssa Loorya.
Students will be able to identify the different sources of evidence that archaeologists use.
Unit Aim: Who was Homer and can archaeology prove that his Troy once existed?
Students will be able to identify Homer, displaying a familiarity with his works.
Students will be able to identify the relation between Homer's work and archaeological research.
"The Mound Has It" pp 8-9
Read the article "Homer Who?" as a class. When finished reading have each student should note three facts about Homer and his stories. Have students share the facts they noted about Homer.
Begin a Timeline to be displayed in the class and to be continued throughout this Unit. Begin the timeline by inserting any dates associated with Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey. Add to the timeline as you read through this issue of DIGTM.
Specific facts to look for are:
Copy these facts, as well as any other facts that students have noted, onto a Fact Sheet to be displayed. Copy the photo of the bust of Home on p. 7 to accompany the Fact Sheet.
- Where was Homer from?
- When did Homer tell his stories?
- What did Homer "write" (i.e. compose)? In what style were Homer's stories told?
Note to Teachers: To prepare students to read the remainder of the articles in this issue of DIGTM, teachers may wish to introduce Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey to students. Both are available in a variety of children's/young adult versions including versions from Oxford Illustrated Classics.
Suggestion: Read excerpts from these texts focusing on the main themes of the story, the historical content that is being relayed, the characters of the story, and how the characters are important to the historical content.
A question to consider while reading Homer is: "Are these texts a history or merely historical fiction?"
Homework: 'Why is the idea of finding Troy and the other sites spoken of by Homer so fascinating to archaeologists (and historians)?'
"Built to Last" pp 11-12 & "What a Site" pp 16-17
Ask students to think about what archaeologists do with the artifacts they find during their excavations? What should they do with them?
- Read this article as a class. After reading the article have students respond to the following questions:
- Who was Heinrich Schliemann?
- Where did he look for Troy?
- What did he find during his excavation?
- Did Schliemann find Troy? Why or Why not?
- Consider the photo of Schliemann's wife Sophia on p. 8. In the photo she is wearing what they believed to be King Priam's jewels, found during their excavation. Ask the students if they think it was appropriate for Schliemann and his wife to take the jewels and allow Sophia to dress up in them? As delicate artifacts should they have been place in a safe location? This is a good opportunity to introduce students to the idea of ethics within the field of archaeology. Today the Schliemann's actions would be considered highly inappropriate. Today artifacts are treated with great care and they are recognized as belonging to the country in which they were excavated.
"The Write" pp 14-15
Have students read these two articles. They can read them for homework or in-class. After students have read the articles have them re-visit the question "Did Schliemann find Troy?"
Discussion: Do you think there is enough evidence to claim that this site is Troy as spoken of by Homer?
Draw a rough diagram on the chalkboard that demonstrates the concept of stratigraphy, illustrating the many different levels of occupation of Troy. Stratigraphy is the principle that states that generally the oldest layers of occupation or activity are those that are furthest below surface. The layers closest to the surface are more recent, closer to the present day.
Consider the archaeological evidence presented in the articles. Re-read excerpts of The Iliad in which Homer describes Troy. Use an organization chart, such as a Venn diagram, to keep track of corresponding or dissimilar information and details.
Activity: Using both the archaeological evidence presented in the articles and the descriptions by Homer, have students create drawings of what they imagine Troy may have looked like.
"Bony Clues" pp 24-26
Read this article as a class. Emphasize that one of the difficulties in reading ancient Greek scrolls from this period is the fact that the writers did not use any punctuation or spaces between words. Writing was a constant stream of letters and the pages had no numbers to mark their order.
Provide students with a similar experience by conducting one of the following two activities.
- Have students create their own Greek papyrus text.
Preparation: For homework have students write a one-page description of one of Homer's characters.
- Have students copy their homework text onto a sheet of unlined paper. Tell students that when they copy their text they should not use any punctuation, capital letters or spaces between words.
- After students finish copying their stories, have them use a wet teabag to stain the page they just wrote. While still damp have them crumple the page really well so that the pages get a beat up or old look.
- Collect all the papers from the students. After allowing them to dry for at least an hour, redistribute the pages randomly to the class.
- Have the students carefully unravel the page they received and begin their translations.
- Ahead of class prepare 3 - 5 pages of a story in the same manner as described above. For added effect you can bury the pages in a flowerpot for 2 - 3 weeks. Just prior to class, tear the pages into the correct number of pieces needed for the class. Hand these out, one per student, and have the students translate their page and as a group attempt to reassemble the story.
Read the description of the ritual sacrifice at King Nestor's Palace in The Odyssey.
Follow-up by reading the article. Compare the archaeological evidence to the description in The Odyssey.
Do you agree with the archaeologist's interpretation? Why or why not?
What evidence do archaeologists use in their studies?
Help students to identify the various sources of evidence that have been used by archaeologists in their studies of the Ancient Greeks and the City of Troy.
Have students use the images in DIGTM, as well as their own drawings, to illustrate passages from Homer's texts. Along with each passage students should create an archaeological fact sheet, noting any archaeological evidence, finds or facts that might relate to that particular passage.
The Iliad and the Odyssey in Greek Mythology by Karen Bornemann Spies.
Virtual Tour of Troy site - www.crock11.freeserve.co.uk/troy.htm