Strata, Portraits of Humanity, Episode 18, “Historic Norwegian Farm” and “Mariana Islands Latte Stones, Episode 1”

StrataImage-webThis episode of Strata returns to a familiar theme:  what does legacy mean for a people, and how can it be preserved?

In the first video of this episode, we are introduced to the stream at the historic farm of Havrå that connects the mountain, the field and the fjord.  Havrå, whose history stretches back to the Bronze Age, is protected by the Norwegian government.  On the farm, the field and the old sharing of the cultivated land are still intact.  And though many of the ancient ways have changed, a deep sense of heritage and community remain. Our second offering looks at the megalithic ruins known as latte that symbolize the ancient culture of the Chamorro people of the Mariana Islands. Latte are stone pillars and capitals that supported houses in complex village systems until the late 1600s prior to massive societal change under Spanish rule.  In this video we explore how the Chamorro legacy was built, and how clues to the past have uncovered new mysteries yet to be solved. Part 1 of 2.

Strata: Portraits of Humanity is a monthly half-hour video series available online and on select cable channels. Strata is a showcase for unique and diverse stories about the world’s cultural heritage. Stories come from across the globe with segments produced by Archaeological Legacy Institute and dozens of producer and distributor partners around the world.

Click on the image below to view the program on The Archaeology Channel and scroll down to see the curriculum developed by AntiquityNOW to accompany this episode’s video.

Strata April 2016

Lesson Plans


  • To discover what archaeologists do as they excavate sites and how each find can hold clues to a people’s legacy.
  • To introduce students to the value of preservation by seeing how ancient ways can continue to nourish the lifeblood of a culture.
  • To think about the fragility of heritage, especially absent written records.
  • To consider how archaeologists use a wide range of tools to recover and interpret fragments of past lives.


  • To understand how diverse cultures evolved based upon various histories and beliefs.
  • To appreciate how geography and environment influence a culture’s pride of place.
  • To realize how legacies can take many diverse and unique forms.
  • To consider how people’s efforts to trace lineage speaks to a longing of the human spirit for a sense of origin.


Lesson Plan 1

“Historic Norwegian Farm”

Project Idea #1 

  • Group Discussion: In this documentary we see how the people of Havrå face many challenges living off the land.
    • Why do people cling to traditions when modern technologies and conveniences could dramatically alter and possibly improve their lives? What benefits do they get from choosing to live as they do?
    • What do you think the people of Havrå would say about your lifestyle? Compare and contrast your two lifestyles.

Project Idea #2 

  • Write a short story describing how it would have been to live in this region centuries ago. Think about the climate and geography, the clothing, the food and how you would build a community to survive.
  • Use a modern day archaeological dig as a starting point, and an artifact that was discovered to write your story as a flashback. (What’s an archaeologist? Click here to find out.)
  • Think of a storyline giving as much detail as possible as to what life would have been like.
  • Don’t forget—this is a story, so use your imagination and write a compelling plot with colorful characters and accurate setting (time and place). Read your story to your classmates.

Project Idea #3 

  • Group Activity: Break into small groups. In the video heirloom seeds and animals are mentioned. Within each group, make a list of five seeds and five animal breeds that are considered heirloom. Find pictures of each.
    • What gives them an heirloom designation?
    • What is the value of genetic diversity?
    • What does a country of origin have to do with these heirlooms? How did some types of seeds and breeds of animals continue to be bred in a culture, and others not?
    • Share your findings with your class.

Lesson Plan 2

“Mariana Islands Latte Stones”

Project Idea #1 

  • Founded in 1879 and chartered by the United States Congress in 1906, the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology.
    • Explore AIA’s site, particularly the interactive digs.
    • What are some of the issues that are important to AIA?
    • What is cultural heritage? Why is AIA interested in cultural heritage?
    • Group Activity: Sometimes people question the validity of cultural heritage, saying that it values “stones above people.” What does this mean? What do you think about that statement? In what cases does the wellbeing of an archaeological site conflict with the needs of a people? Research a site that has drawn controversy in this regard, and share with your class.
  • Group Activity: Using the above information, have a debate in your class, one side taking the position that cultural heritage programs have benefit, the other taking the position that programs disadvantage surrounding communities.

Project Idea #2

  • Can you think of any compromises that could bring the two sides in the above debate together? Can you think of any issues or areas where you can find common ground?
  • What are the elements of a successful negotiation? Go here to learn about effective negotiations, and here to learn how to plan the negotiation meeting.
  • Group Activity: Have the debaters come together and negotiate the issues raised in your debate. See what kind of compromises and solutions you can find.
    • How is the process different when seeking a compromise? How would you portray the issues in a debate versus a negotiation?
    • When you are debating a particular viewpoint, how do you feel when dealing with the opposing team? What skills do you employ? How does this compare to a negotiation with your classmates?

Project Idea #3 

  • The latte stones of the Mariana Islands are remarkable structures reflecting the ingenuity and craftsmanship of an ancient people.
    • Draw pictures of the Chamorro columns and four other architectural column styles from ancient cultures. How do they compare?
    • How does a culture’s environment influence its architecture? Write an essay describing how the different cultures you drew above designed their columns, and how these structures were reflective of the unique qualities of a people and their land.

Web links:

From the Ancient Past: The Latte Stones of Guam (Rudoph Villaverde)

From Conquest to Colonization: Spain in the Marianas 1690-1740 (Micronesian Seminar, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia)

Guam History and Culture (


Havrå (Wikipedia)


History of Norway (Wikipedia)

Museum Center in Hordaland

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