Interactive Archeology Computer Game – Roman Town
Available at http://www.dig-itgames.com
by Michael Leppert
Roman Town by Dig It! Games is a fun, unique and interesting computer game developed by professional archeologist, Suzi Wilczynski to bring awareness of archeology (the study of ancient people, their artifacts and culture) to any child via the computer. Roman Town is set in the town of Fossura, Italy, that was abandoned in 79 AD after the eruption of Vesuvius that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Click to visit the web siteRoman Town is guided by an animated archeologist through whom is explained the essentials of the “dig” that comprises the game. The professor provides the player with a set of archeologist’s tools, an explanation of what they are used for and “digger” figures who use the tools in excavating a section the professor marks off. Whenever a digger finds something, he signals with a speech balloon, the player clicks on it and is taken to a screen consisting of a background of earth, slightly hiding an artifact – a piece of pottery, glass or the like – and the player then “scrapes” away the earth with the computer mouse until the artifact is completely revealed. Then the professor explains what the artifact was used for, how it was made, etc., and the player returns to the “dig” screen to continue excavating.
A Roman boy and girl enter the picture and help explain some of the pieces found as well as their daily life in Fossura. The game continues through the finding of a number of artifacts and then concludes with the player completing quizzes or games, identifying artifacts when they are placed in a Roman room, piecing together a broken pottery bottle and matching Roman items with their modern counterparts – two perfume bottles, for instance.
Roman Town can make an excellent beginning for a unit study of Roman times. Some of the artifacts are coins, which can provide a deeper discussion of basic math and ancient coins; the professor explains that the Romans were very adept at glassblowing and even had glass window panes. The professor also explains that the furniture found in these ancient sites is marble or stone material and that pieces of wooden furniture are not found in these digs because wood biodegrades and no signs are ever left behind, but archeologists know from writings and pictures that the Romans used wooden furniture. With a bit of thought and creativity, an entire year of unit study could be developed using Roman Town as the starting point.
Roman Town is very reasonably priced and offers hours of quiet, valuable enjoyment and learning to any child who can read and comprehend of age 7 to 10. Visit the website http://dig-itgames.com
for complete information and a sample of the game.