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Contact: Heidi Pierson, 360-816-6255
Contact: Doug Wilson, 360-816-6251
University Field School Explores Dr. McLoughlin’s Garden at Fort Vancouver: An Archaeological Investigation of 19th Century Social Practice, Health and Nutrition in the Pacific Northwest
The 6th annual Public Archaeology Field School at the Vancouver National Historic Reserve will continue investigations of the 1829-1860 Fort Vancouver garden begun last summer.
Dr. McLoughlin’s garden and orchard provided the Hudson’s Bay Company employees with fresh fruit, produce, and decorative, herbal and medicinal plants; this garden also represented Britain’s easy mastery over newly acquired territories.
Excavations will search for remnants of the garden well, paths and beds, and collect sediment samples for analysis of plant remains.
Knowledge gained will assist in the examination of the human-landscape interrelationship at Fort Vancouver, including the significance of the garden setting, its layout, and the plants that grew in it.
Excavation results will support the reconstruction and interpretation of the garden area. Remnants of Army activities associated with both World War I and II are expected. Work will also explore the 1856-1878 U.S. Army Vancouver Arsenal near the Visitors Center.
The field school is made possible through the support of the National Park Service, Portland State University, Washington State University Vancouver, and the Vancouver National Historic Reserve Trust.
The two-part program will introduce the methods and theories of fieldwork in historical archaeology. Students will participate in all aspects of field and lab work: laying out units, excavation by shovel and trowel, mapping, drawing, photography, and cleaning, identifying, and analyzing artifacts.
The season will also include lectures by guest speakers and staff. The public is invited to visit the field school and watch the excavations in progress.
Also, living history activities will be ongoing in the Replica Garden on Thursday and Saturday mornings.
Background: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, is the heart of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. The Vancouver National Historic Reserve brings together a national park, a premier archaeological site, the region's first military post, an international fur trade emporium, one of the oldest operating airfields, the first national historic site west of the Mississippi River, and a waterfront trail and environmental center on the banks of the Columbia River. The partners of the Reserve teach visitors about the fur trade, early military life, natural history, and pioneers in aviation, all within the context of Vancouver’s role in regional and national development. The Reserve's vast array of public programs -- including living history events, festivals, cultural demonstrations, exhibits, active archaeology, and other special activities -- create a dynamic, fun, and unique tourist destination for people of all ages.