2023 Public Archaeology Field School

Three students wearing casual clothing use trowels and hand-held brushes to remove dirt from a square of rocky earth.
Students in the Public Archaeology Field School learn about all aspects of archaeology in a hands-on environment.

NPS Photo / M. Huff

Apply now for the 2023 Public Archaeology Field School!

Are you an archaeology student or do you know a student who is interested in learning more about the science of archaeology in a hands-on setting? Learn more about applying for the 2023 Public Archaeology Field School below!


Public Archaeology Field School at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and Cannon Beach, Oregon

June 26 to July 28, 2023


Join a team from Portland State University, Washington State University Vancouver, and the National Park Service to explore sites on the Oregon and Washington Coast. The field school will conduct survey of lands within the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in Oregon and Washington, including locations associated with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Middle Village, and the maritime fur trade. Students will also perform test excavations at the NeCus' Village site in Cannon Beach, Oregon. NeCus' was the location of a Native American village site and stopping point for travel along the coast, and a location visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Become proficient in archaeological field techniques, including site identification, 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. Work with experts in remote sensing including ground-penetrating radar (GPR) in workshops and lectures to integrate geophysical data into the exploration of past people through their belongings.

Acquire skills in laboratory processing of artifacts, basic artifact identification, and techniques of archaeological analysis, including Native American and European American material culture in the region. Learn skills from National Park Service interpreters and public archaeology experts on how to engage with the public and explore the meaning of archaeology with children and adults from many communities.

Course Specifics

This is an intensive course of hands-on study, requiring attendance for the entire length of the five-week course, including four weeks on the Oregon Coast. There are a limited number of spots available for this course.

The tentative class schedule is as follows:

Monday, June 26, to Friday, June 30:

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Washington

Class will be held Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. The week will include an introduction to the basics of fieldwork, survey, site recording, artifact identification, interpretation, project specifics, etc., in preparation for four weeks at the Oregon Coast.

Students will need to provide their own transportation to and from the stie each day, as well as food and lodging.

No class Monday, July 3, and Tuesday, July 4.

Wednesday, July 5, to Friday, July 28:

Oregon and Washington Coast, with work at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and Cannon Beach, Oregon.

We will leave for the coast on the morning of Wednesday, July 5.
Field school will be conducted Wednesday, July 5, through Saturday, July 8, for this week. Then, field school will run Monday through Friday, starting on July 10 and continuing through July 28.
We will return from the coast in the afternoon of Friday, July 28.
Students will have Sunday, July 9, and the following Saturdays and Sundays as days off. Food and camp sites will also be provided for students on these days.

The field school will be camping during this period. Students will need to provide their own camping gear, toiletries, etc. Amenities at the camp site will include tent spots, portable toilets, and drinking water. Please be aware that the camp location is relatively remote. There is access to the beach, hiking trails, a bakery/coffee shop, and a bus stop approximately 0.5 miles walking distance from the camp. No personal vehicles are allowed at the camp site.

Transportation will be provided to the coast on Wednesday, July 5, and the return trip on Friday, July 28. Transportation to and from the work sites each day will also be provided. Transportation to off-site showers and services (stores, laundromat) will be provided on a limited basis.

Food will be provided during this time period, starting with dinner on Wednesday, July 5, and concluding with lunch on Friday, July 28.

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, and 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.

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.


Portland State University

Courses: ANTH 454 (6 undergraduate credits) or ANTH 554 (6 graduate credits)

Contacts: Katie Wynia, M.A., email
Dr. Douglas Wilson, email, or call (360) 921-5241

Costs: Estimate of tuition and fees. In addition, a course fee of approximately $700 will be assessed for food and transportation costs, and to replace consumable field gear and equipment. If you are on financial aid, please email Dr. Doug Wilson for further information.

Washington State University - Vancouver

Courses: ANTH 399 (6 undergraduate credits) or ANTH 599 (6 graduate credits)

Contact: Dr. Colin Grier, email

Cost: Estimate of tuition and fees. In addition, a course fee of approximately $750 will be assessed for food and transportation costs, and to replace consumable field gear and equipment. If you are on financial aid, please email Dr. Colin Grier for further information.

Apply Now!

Click the link above to start your application for the 2023 Public Archaeology Field School!

Image of a woman working at an archaeological site.


Learn more about archaeology at Fort Vancouver.

Blue sky above the Lewis and Clark River and bridge on the Netul River Trail.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Learn more about Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, where the 2023 field school will take place.

An open drawer of Spode ceramics.

Museum Collections

Learn more about the museum collection at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.


Last updated: February 17, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

800 Hatheway Road, Bldg 722
Vancouver, WA 98661


360 816-6230

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