Nome Archaeology Camp

Nome Archaeology Camp
Nome Archaeology Camp

NPS/Jeff Rasic

Nome Archaeology Camp is a field school for high school age students in the Bering Straits and Northwest Alaska region that has taken place in Nome in each of the last three years (2015-2017). The National Park Service partners with Kawerak, the Katirvik Center, Bering Straits Native Corporation, the Carrie M. McLain Museum, and Alaska Geographic to put on the camp, which uses field trips and hands-on activities to teach students techniques to explore and appreciate the cultural and natural resources of the region. The camp is about more than archaeology; local and regional experts help incorporate traditional knowledge, museum studies, wildlife biology, and history.

Last year, over the span of one week, eleven students from Nome, Anchorage, Girdwood, Savoonga, Fairbanks, Buckland, and Selawik explored Northwest Alaska’s rich cultural heritage from a base camp near Salmon Lake, a popular camping, fishing, and hunting location roughly 40 miles from Nome. From there, campers gained experience in archaeological survey and mapping, practiced soil probing to obtain radiocarbon samples, launched field trips to study museum curation at the Carrie M. McLain Museum and visit the historic Pilgrim Hotsprings, and turned their mess hall into a classroom for a number of guest speakers. Elders and social scientists from Kawerak visited the camp to conduct an oral history workshop, Matt Ganley of Bering Straits Native Corporation shared his expertise on prehistoric caribou hunting techniques, and Amy Russell of the Kawerak Cultural Center discussed career paths in cultural preservation.


students in archaeology camp participate in archaeology projects
Participants in Archaeology Camp learn what it is like to conduct fieldwork.

NPS/Jeff Rasic

By the end of the week, student’s had gained a new perspective on their surroundings:

"I learned to ‘think like an archaeologist.’ I can look at the world in an entirely different way. What used to be a pile of old rocks is now scientific evidence of human modification of the environment hundreds of years ago. That’s so cool!” explained Anna Warnock of Anchorage.

Following the camp’s completion, one student, Sam Cross of Nome, was able to use his connections and experience from the Nome Archaeology Camp to obtain a part-time job as a museum assistant at the Carrie M. McLain Museum in Nome.

Check out the videos from 2015 and 2017 Archaeology Camp!