Seashells are an excellent item to include in excavations. Not only are they beautiful and very diverse in shapes and sizes, but they lend themselves well to many educational discussions and lessons.
In this excavation activity, we are not only going to utilize super cute little seashells, but we are going to go one step further and make an awesome necklace with them after they have been dug up. Get ready to enjoy the super simple Shell Necklace Discovery Dig tutorial and learn how to make this awesome excavation that your excavating adventurer is sure to love.
Fun Fact: Seashell collecting is not a new hobby. In fact, archaeologists found what is thought to be the first seashell collection in the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii, dating back to 74 AD!
  • Sand
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Excavation tools. Wooden dowels and other blunt instruments work well. Sharp tools are unsafe and not necessary as the excavations are reasonably brittle and excavate easily. 
  • Safety goggles
  • Small brush
  • Small seashells with predrilled holes. You can easily find these online and there are large assortments available at very reasonable prices.
  • String for necklace. Many of the kits with predrilled seashells come with necklace making materials.  
  • Container - Any plastic container will do but shell shaped molds really add a cool flair to this excavation activity. Just make sure your container will hold enough seashells to make a necklace. 


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  1. Put one cup of sand in your mixing bowl.
  2. Add one-third cup Plaster of Paris.
  3. Use the wooden spoon to mix the sand and Plaster of Paris.
  4. Add one-third cup of water and mix.
  5. Keep adding small amounts of water until you reach a pancake like batter consistency. 
  6. Add some seashells to the container. 
  7. Pour a layer of the mixture into the container to cover the seashells.
  8. Gently tap the sides of the container to remove any air bubbles. This will also allow a little mixture under and around the seashells. Some of the seashells may float to the surface of the excavation. After a few minutes, the excavation will start to set and you can push the seashells back under the surface. 
  9. Optional - Leave a few seashells partially exposed on the surface of the excavation. 
  10. Set the Shell Necklace Discovery Dig in a safe location to dry undisturbed overnight. I like to put the excavation in front of a fan.


Now the Shell Necklace Discovery Dig is ready to be enjoyed. Find an area that is easy to clean up, distribute the safety goggles, excavation tools, and let the excavating begin. Once the seashells have been discovered, clean them with a wet cloth and then string them onto the cord. Tie the ends and your excavating adventurer has a nice shell necklace to wear and show off their ocean treasures. 

I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and enjoy making a Shell Necklace Discovery Dig. These excavations are very easy to make, inexpensive, and a lot of fun!
Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons regarding seashells, the ocean, or marine animals.
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Happy Excavating!