2020 Public Archaeology Field School

Field School student working on tablet computer
Students in the Public Archaeology Field School will use tablet computers to record archaeological data.

NPS Photo


Update, April 8, 2020

Due to safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 virus, the National Park Service, Portland State University and Washington State University Vancouver are cancelling the 2020 Public Archaeology Field School. While we are saddened by this turn of events, the safety of students, staff, and the public are our highest priority. The partnership will explore holding hte field school in 2021.
June 16 - July 25, 2020
At Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Join a team from Portland State University, Washington State University Vancouver, and the National Park Service to explore some of the most important colonial sites in Oregon and Washington.

Become proficient in archaeological field techniques, including survey, testing, and excavation while you participate in an award-winning field research program.

Employ mobile information technology in a variety of field situations, including field excavation and grave monument documentation to expand the use of mobile devices in heritage preservation and cultural resources management (CRM).

Acquire skills in laboratory processing of artifacts, basic artifact identification, and techniques of archaeological analysis, including some of the earliest Euro-American material culture in the region.

Learn skills from National Park Service interpreters and public archaeology experts on how to engage with a diverse public, and explore the meaning of archaeology with children and adults from many communities.

Learning Objectives:

Research Design: implementation of a research design through the collection and preparation of field samples, examination of different ways to collect information, adjustment of research designs based on finds and contingencies, exploration of reasoning, ethical considerations;

Critical Thinking: appropriate techniques for analysis and interpretation of archaeological phenomena including how to make inferences from material culture data, understanding and interpretation of site taphonomic and formation processes, and comparison and assessment of different ways of viewing the past through historical documents, oral traditions,a nd archaeological resources;

Communication: field writing skills, including the distinct separation of observation from interpretation, development of inferences and arguments based on data, analytical writing skills through written assignments, an understanding of measurement systems and numerical recording systems in archaeological data collection, the presentation of numerical data in in-field inference and analysis, and interpretation to the public through public engagement including the Kids Digs program;

Professional Etiquette: appropriate ways to work with other team members in research and to engage constructively with site visitors, including Indigenous communities, youth groups, and the general public.

Course Registration Information

Portland State University

Washington State University - Vancouver

Anthropology 454

SIX advanced undergraduate credits

Anthropology 399

SIX undergraduate credits

Anthropology 554

SIX graduate credits

Anthropology 599

SIX graduate credits


Portland State University
Dr. Douglas Wilson, (360) 921-5241
Email Dr. Wilson


Washington State University - Vancouver
Dr. Colin Grier
Email Dr. Grier

Estimates of tuition and fees for Portland State University are listed here.

If you are on financial aid, please email Doug Wilson for further information.

See below for additional course fee information.

Learn about cost options through Washington State University Vancouver here.

See below for additional course fee information.

Course Fee

In addition to tuition fees, a course fee of approximately $543.63 will be assessed to cover this year's two-week field trip to the Oregon and Washington Coast, and to replace expendable field gear and equipment.


For early notification, please submit application by April 1, 2020.

Notification of early applicants will be by April 15, 2020.

Applications are due no later than May 1, 2020.

Notification of acceptance will be by May 15, 2020.

Last updated: April 23, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

612 E Reserve St
Vancouver , WA 98661


(360) 816-6230

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