Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Michael S. Nassaney

Second Advisor

Dr. José António Brandão

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Anne Sydlik

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Kristina S. Wirtz


Virtual archaeology, distance leaming, French Colonial studies, public education, historical archaeology

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The convergence of archaeology, digital technology, and public education has produced new and exciting ways for archaeologists to engage and inform the public. This thesis uses the video game Minecraft to recreate the process of archaeology in a digital format. The test case for this project was the Fort St. Joseph Archaeology Project and its excavation at Fort St. Joseph in Niles, Michigan. The target audience for this project is students in grades three to five. These grades were determined to be the most applicable because their content ranges from United States to Michigan history. A study of virtual archaeology determined that there was a significant contribution could be made by using archaeology and digital technology with the specific goal of public education and outreach. A review of the use of digital technology in public education concluded that the topic distance learning would provide the most useful information for this thesis. The construction of Minecrafting Archaeology, the name of the Minecraft world created for this thesis, was divided into two distinct phases. The first, or Alpha phase, was designed to test if the basic components necessary to recreate an archaeological excavation in Minecraft was possible. The second, or Beta phase, refined material created in the first phase, added instructional and educational content books and was peer-reviewed to ensure that the process of archaeology was being created and the language was appropriate for students in grades three to five. The final map will be published for free access on both the Fort St. Joseph website and, a popular website which hosts Minecraft content.


Links to additional files of the Minecraft content that was created for this thesis are stored for public access on the Fort St. Joseph and Curse pages below.

Included in

Anthropology Commons