Excavation In An Excavation is a fun and exciting excavation activity that will keep your Excavating Adventurer guessing! As they make their way through the first excavation discovering treasures along the way, they will then discover a whole new excavation buried inside to explore!
  • Sand
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Measuring cups
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • 1 large container and one or more smaller containers that will fit inside the large one. I like to use old cookie tins for the large container. An old Altoids tin makes a great container to use for the excavation inside the larger excavation.
  • Items to excavate. You can really use whatever you want! Old coins and coins from other countries make exciting items to include in excavation activities. Just be sure to put the items that you think will be treasured the most in the interior excavation. 
  • Excavation tools - Safety goggles, small brush, magnifying glass, and a chisel, nail, wooden dowel or some other tool to use to excavate. 
  • Optional - Glitter and colored sand can be used to decorate the surface of the excavation. 


Pro tip: Soften the Excavation In An Excavation with a little water if it is difficult for young Excavating Adventurer to dig. This is a larger excavation activity and does not have to be completed in one sitting. 


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  1. Place your more valuable or interesting item in the Altoids tin or smaller container. 
  2. Dry mix one cup of sand with 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris. Increase the recipe as needed to fill your containers at a three parts sand to one part Plaster of Paris ratio. 
  3. Add 1/3 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake like consistency. 
  4. Pour the mixture into the Altoids tin and cover the items inside.
  5. Allow this tin to dry for at least twenty four hours and until it is completely dry.
  6. Close the lid and place the Altoids tin in the larger cookie tin.
  7. Scatter some more items to be excavated around the bottom of the cookie tin. 
  8. Now make another batch of sand and plaster mixture and pour a layer in the cookie tin. 
  9. Allow this to set up for about five minutes and then add another layer of excavation items. 
  10. Keep adding mixture and excavation items until the cookie tin is nearly full.
  11. Optional - Decorate the surface of the excavation with glitter or colored sand. 
  12. Allow to dry overnight.  
  13. Once the excavation is completely dry, find an area that can get a little messy and be easily cleaned up. Distribute the safety goggles and excavations tools and let the fun Excavation In An Excavation begin!


Pro tip: This excavation is a little more complicated to make than some of our other ideas but it is well worth it. Excavating Adventurers really get excited when they discover an entire additional excavation buried inside the main dig!


I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and had fun creating your own Excavation In An Excavation to investigate and explore. These excavations are inexpensive and a lot of fun!
Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons about archeology and more!
If you love rocks, geology, and excavating as much as we do, be sure to check out our Excavating Adventures monthly subscription by clicking the link below and get an awesome new excavation delivered each month loaded with rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and more!
Happy Excavating!
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