Any discussion of ancient Rome instantly conjures up images of racing chariots, battling gladiators, and cheering crowds in the Roman Colosseum. In this quick and easy tutorial, we are going to show you how to create a Roman coin dig using some awesome replica Roman coins that can easily be found online.
This activity will send your excavating adventurer back in time to ancient Rome to dig and discover a horde of ancient Roman coins on the archeological quest like no other. 
Pro tip: Don't worry if you do not have replica Roman coins. You can easily use pennies or other coins and a little imagination to pull off this awesome excavation activity. 
  • 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
  • Replica Roman coins - You can find these easily online. Be sure to shop around as some of these can be quite expensive. As mentioned earlier, you can easily use pennies or other coins.  
  • Container - Any plastic container will do. 
  • Optional - Little plastic Roman soldiers, gladiators, or chariots to decorate  the surface of your Roman coin dig. 

Pro tip: Use string or a marker to create grid squares on the surface of the Roman coin dig. Designate or label the row with letters and the column with numbers. Teach your excavating adventurer how to identify each square (for example A1 or B3) and have them keep track of the type and amount of each coin found in each grid square. 


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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 your Roman coins to your container.
  7. Pour a layer of the mixture into the container to cover the coins.
  8. Gently tap the sides of the container to remove any air bubbles. This will also allow a little mixture under the coins.
  9. Set the Roman coin dig in a safe location to dry undisturbed overnight. I like to put the excavation in front of a fan.


Now the Roman coin dig is ready to be enjoyed. Find an area that is easy to clean up, distribute the safety goggles and excavation tools, and let the excavating begin. 

I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and enjoy making the Roman coin 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 ancient cultures, Rome, Italy, Europe, and archeology. 
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Happy Excavating!





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