Teach Archaeology, Conservation, and Preservation at Home

Teach Archaeology, Conservation, and Preservation at Home

Here are some ideas, based on academic standards, to support and extend your child’s learning as they experience the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.


6 - 8


Anthropology, Archaeology, Religion, Geology, Geography, Earth Science, Physical Geography

Views of the Old City of Jerusalem, taken from the Mount of Olives, with the Dome of the Rock inside the compound of Al-Aqsa (Al-Haram ash-Sharif).
Simon Norfolk

National Geographic’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre experience immerses families in the quest to investigate, document, and preserve the observed Tomb of Christ. Built on limestone, water eroded the foundation and years of candle soot marred the chapel’s interior. National Geographic documented the process of restoring and stabilizing the structure. This church is not the only place in peril. Looting, political unrest, erosion, or natural disasters threaten many historical sites worldwide.

Using new technologies, such as satellite imagery, LIDAR, and ground penetrating radar, scientists are able to discover lost cities engulfed by forest or explore the underwater remains of ancient civilizations that would have gone undetected and unstudied. While each site and its artifacts are unique to different ancient cultures, some features, like tombs, took similar forms across the world, and are still found in modern society. Here are some ideas, based on academic standards, to support and extend your child’s learning as they experience the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Bent and Red pyramids are a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Dahshur, Egypt.
Impacts of Environmental Factors

Many archaeological sites around the world, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, are threatened by erosion from the air, water, or natural disaster. Talk with your child about how environmental factors such as rainfall, natural disasters, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions might harm historic landmarks such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Photographer Jodi Cobb frames a shot as a goat looks on.
Documenting History

Read about National Geographic Explorer Albert Yu-Min Lin's work to find and document archaeological sites in Mongolia, China, and Guatemala. As a family, choose an object or building of interest to research and document as a National Geographic Explorer. Describe the location and significance of your object or building in a short story, accompanied by a drawing or photograph.

In the Mediterranean Sea off the Coast of Turkey, a diver rises from a Byzantine wreck with a basket full of artifacts.
Underwater Archaeology

Archaeologists may work on land, underground, or undersea. Learn about National Geographic Emerging Explorer Guillermo de Anda’s search for remnants of Mayan civilization within cenotes and caves by reading Underwater Archaeologist: Dr. Guillermo de Anda. Talk with your child about the skills and knowledge useful to an underwater archaeologist and one that investigates sites on land. Use a map to find oceans, lakes, or rivers your child would be interested in exploring as an underwater archaeologist.

A restoration worker examines some stonework in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city.
Tombs of Ancient Civilizations

Burial practices have taken many forms throughout history. In some ancient civilizations and current societies, tombs house the deceased. Explore and compare tombs used by the ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Mayan cultures. Use Google Earth to find the geographic location of the tombs of King Tut, Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, and Lady K’Abel.

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Space Archaeology

The remains of ancient cities are sometimes hidden by dense forests or buried underground. Learn how scientists are using satellites to make discoveries by watching Space Archaeology. National Geographic Explorer Fellow Sarah Parcak wrote the book on space archaeology and uses the tool often in her work. Use Google Earth to visualize the distance between Parcak’s discoveries, such as Egyptian pyramids or a Viking settlement in North America. Satellite image ©2017 DigitalGlobe.

Media Credits

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Alexandra M. Silva, Science Educator, Peter Gruber International Academy, Virgin Islands 9-12 International Baccalaureate MYP Science, DP Biology, and DP Environmental Systems & Societies MEd Instructional Leadership: Science Education; MS Ecology & Evolution
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Educator Reviewer
Elizabeth Wolzak, National Geographic Society
Expert Reviewer
Dr. Fredrick Hiebert, National Geographic Archaeology Fellow, National Geographic Society
Program Specialist
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

April 22, 2024

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