Kentucky archaeology, rock art, petroglyph, Woodland Indians

Attention Teachers and Students:

It's a Seed Sow-Down!

The Living Archaeology Weekend (LAW) Seeds Changing History program highlights the kinds of plants ancient Native peoples once grew in the Red River Gorge area. Each year, as part of the program, teachers receive in their take-home envelopes seeds and seed cards to share with their students. This year we are featuring several cultigens – corn, beans, and squash – to highlight the Three Sisters farming system.


Because 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of LAW’s Steering Committee, we are inviting teachers and their classes to help us celebrate by participating in a SEED “SOW-DOWN.”


Only teachers and students who attended LAW 2016 are eligible to participate.


There are four easy steps in the Seed Sow- Down, as detailed in the activity instructions and summarized below.

First, as a class, plant the corn, bean, and squash seeds you received in your 2016 LAW teacher take-home envelope.

Second, after the seeds have sprouted and begun to grow, read aloud as a class the Mohawk Legend of the Three Sisters and discuss one of the following themes linked to Native peoples and their ancient farming culture:


  • the sustainability and synergy of the Three Sisters farming system


Read our content essay Ancient Sustainable Farming in the Red River Gorge: The Three Sisters, briefly described in the handout provided in your teacher take-home envelope.


  • the diversity of plants we eat today, gifts of the Native peoples of North and South America   


The three websites below provide at-a-glance lists of the “New World’s” plant contributions to human diets worldwide, and historical context for the contributions as part of the Columbian Exchange:


  • the significance of storytelling and the role multi-voice storytelling plays in human cultural traditions   


This delightful PBS website features, among other things, interviews with Native storytellers, tapes of them telling stories, and lessons to use to explore with students the rich tradition of Native American storytelling:

Third, as a class, using our template included in the activity instructions, document how your plants are growing and students’ involvement and engagement in the project with four photos and one of the following class projects: 


  • create a brief video (no longer than 5 minutes) of student interviews

  • write a 300-500 word essay

  • write a poem

  • prepare a Three Sisters recipe

  • create a poster with drawings, artwork, and/or text

  • make a powerpoint

  • write a rap song, sing it, and tape it

  • as a class, write a “How ________ Came To Be” tale or write a modern version of the Legend of the Three Sisters

  • tell a family gardening story and record it through video or audio.


Fourth, mail or email your class entry (photos and project) to Eric Schlarb by 5:00 pm Friday, April 28, 2017 to the address included in the activity instructions.

Living Archaeology Weekend student essay contest
Living Archaeology Weekend student essay contest

Three members of the LAW Steering Committee representing the host and event planning organizations (Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky Archaeological Survey, and the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists) will review each submission for acceptability, based on how well the entry depicts student participation, demonstrates student knowledge, and relates to the Three Sisters’ content. The SEED SOW-DOWN is not about how well the seeds grew; it is about what students are thinking and learning with respect to Native peoples and their ancient farming activities.


For engaging in LAW’s 2016 SEED SOW-DOWN, participants will receive for the classroom Three Sisters and other Native-themed books from LAW’s online reading list.


In addition, all SEED SOW-DOWN participants will be listed in the newsletter of the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists and on the LAW website. In addition, all entries will be posted by Friday, May 12, 2017 to the LAW Facebook page, tagged with your school’s name.