Excavate! Byzantine

Apply C3 skills in this middle school social studies game that brings the ancient civilization of the Byzantine Empire to life through archaeology.

Game Overview

Piece together the daily life of ancient Byzantine in this immersive social studies educational game!  Use Archaeological thinking to apply C3 skills of Inquiry and Evaluation of Evidence to aspects of Byzantine daily life not covered in textbooks. Excavate and analyze four significant locations to make connections and deduct facts about the people who lived, worked and played there. Find out about the origins of Christianity at the Hagia Sophia, the power of the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace, the importance of trade along the Silk Road at the Augustaion, and the important role of women and family at an Oikos.

Visit the sites in any order; your progress will be recorded in journals that log collected artifacts, field notes and achievements.  At each location, make meaning of how artifacts were used through a series of analysis questions and reports that help you consider the historical context of the primary source artifacts to make connections.  Finally, players see each site come alive as artifacts populate an historically accurate image of Byzantine life.

Learning Goals:

  • Discover important icons at the Hagia Sophia.
  • Discuss what kind of military was most important for Constantinople.
  • Find out what role women played in the household.
  • Explain the role that trade played in the wealth of the Byzantine Empire.

Game Purchase Options

This world history educational product is available for HTML5 browser play at our store and for tablets at one of the app stores below.  iOS and Android tablets are supported.

Price: $3.99 US  (store may vary in price)

For Online Play

For iOS iPad & Phone play

Android Tablet & Phone Play

Amazon Fire Tablet Play

Curriculum Materials

  • Teacher’s Guide – a step-by-step guide for game-play as well as a resource containing all content and answers. (2 Files – Excavate Overview & Byzantine Content Guide)
  • Inquiry-Based Analysis Lesson (D-I-E) – Activate student interest before playing Excavate! Byzantine by inviting students to describe artifacts and hypothesize their use in the ancient Byzantine Empire. Use the D-I-E lessons to record observations during game-play and to check their hypotheses for accuracy.  It is a fun way to prepare and engage with content while playing Excavate! Byzantine. (Answer sheet included)
  • Artifact-Based Question Prompt (ABQ) – Each location in Excavate! Byzantine culminates with a beautifully rendered scene that incorporates all excavated artifacts in an historically accurate scene.  Use this scene combined with artifacts from the game to have your students answer a DBQ assignment that will demonstrate their learning. (rubric included)

C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards

  • D2.Civ.10.3-5. Identify the beliefs, experiences, perspectives, and values that underlie their own and others’ points of view about civic issues.
  • D2.Civ.1.6-8. Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of citizens, political parties, interest groups, and the media in a variety of governmental and nongovernmental contexts.
  • D2.Civ.2.6-8. Explain specific roles played by citizens (such as voters, jurors, taxpayers, members of the armed forces, petitioners, protesters, and office-holders).
  • D2.Geo.6.6-8. Explain how the physical and human characteristics of places and regions are connected to human identities and cultures.
  • D2.Geo.7.3-5. Explain how cultural and environmental characteristics affect the distribution and movement of people, goods, and ideas.
  • D2.His.9.3-5. Summarize how different kinds of historical sources are used to explain events in the past.
  • D2.His.3.6-8.Use questions generated about individuals and groups to analyze why they, and the developments they shaped, are seen as historically significant.
  • D2.His.16.3-5. Use evidence to develop a claim about the past.


The Excavate! Byzantine educational game includes the new GBLxAPI standard developed through the support of the National Science Foundation. GBLxAPI creates a common standard for analytics collection across game-based learning and other digital educational products. In the Excavate! Byzantine game, GBLxAPI is used to track student progress against C3 and ELA education standards in an easy to read format. Learn more about this standard and how it can help you evaluate your students’ learning at gblxapi.org.

Platform Support

Six World Civilizations

Mesopotamia – Egypt – Greece – Rome – MesoAmerica – Byzantine

Game Reviews

We are studying different civilizations this year and it’s a FANTASTIC resource to help them make connections.

5th Grade Gifted Computer and Technology, Fort Walton Beach, FL

“Excavating was great, and my favorite aspect of the game.

7th Grade Student, Ridley, PA

I LOVED the analysis questions because it assisted the kids in seeing the “big” picture and make connections.” 

5th Grade Social Studies, Canfield, OH

Questions regarding how to use in the classroom?  Contact Us.

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