Instructional Video


Curated and Reviewed by Lesson Planet

The excavation of a cache of artifacts found on San Nicolas Island, a part of the Channel Island chain, is the focus of a documentary that shows how archaeologists uncover artifacts and use these finds to attempt to understand the past. Researchers theorize that the boxes they have uncovered were buried by Juana Maria, a Nicoleno Native American who live alone on the island for over 18 years.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Begin the unit with a viewing of the teaser West of the West, Tales from California's Channel Islands that explains that the series tells the story of the history of the different islands in the chain
  • Incorporate the unit in a study of the Native American tribes, early California history, the Channel Islands, or Spanish exploration
  • The video could also be shown as part of a unit study of Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins 
  • Have viewers compare the point of view of the archaeologists toward the artifacts seen in the Cache video with the point of view of the Native Americans


Classroom Considerations
  • The video provides the context for the five lessons in the unit, each designed for a different grade level
  • The video does not consider the subsequent controversy over the excavations
  • The video shows how archaeologists use historical records to aid in their searches and the methods they use to carefully uncover artifacts


  • None