Park Receives Grant for Historical Archaeology Book

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Date: January 4, 2010
Contact: Theresa Langford, 360-816-6252

VANCOUVER, WA - Fort Vancouver NHS superintendent Tracy A. Fortmann announced that the national park site has received a $15,000 Clark County Historical Promotion Grant for publishing “Treasures,” an educational book on Fort Vancouver historical archaeology.

The book, written by NPS staff members Dr. Douglas C. Wilson, Dr. Robert J. Cromwell, Theresa E. Langford, Heidi K. Pierson, Gregory P. Shine, and Tracy A. Fortmann, will be the first publication that deals comprehensively with the tangible legacy of Fort Vancouver, Vancouver Barracks and Pearson Field by telling the past of the Pacific Northwest through the lens of archaeology and the written word, with full-color photos and graphic detail. The featured artifacts and historic objects help illustrate the changes in technology, identity, health and trade in the region in the last 200 years.

The book will be an attractive and important teaching tool for both the general public and academic researchers.  Written in an accessible format for a general audience, it shares this deep history and is organized around five main themes—Technology, Identity, Globalization, Health, and Using the Collection Today. This allows the reader to learn about Fort Vancouver with constant reference to tangible objects as the primary resource.

In addition, the chapters and themes give special focus to the Fort’s ethnically diverse village and provide further visibility to under-represented peoples.

“Publication of this book will allow us to interpret the park, and its museum collection, to a wider audience at the local, regional and national level,” explained Fortmann.  “It will reinforce the NPS tradition of scholarly research and expertise, and promote archaeological science as a means of studying the past. The book will also serve as a complementary educational tool to the K-12 curriculum recently developed by Clark County teachers and NPS staff for on-site field trips.”

The book will be made available to local schools, libraries, regional educational institutions and historic sites. It will be available for purchase locally and promoted nationally.


Background: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is considered the premier historic archaeology site in the Pacific Northwest. The site’s unparalleled museum collection reflects this status, and Vancouver and Clark County’s role in regional history is reflected in the enormity of the archeological resources on the Fort site. The park’s two million artifacts span American Indian, fur trade, and early military periods, and chronicle the region’s development from Stone Age technology to modern industrial over the last two centuries.  The multicultural nature of the settlement is also reflected in the artifact collection, which highlights both the global trade networks on which it depended and the locally made articles that made the post sustainable.  The artifacts and features are often the primary resources used by the National Park Service (NPS) for reconstructing and interpreting the site. To share the “underground” legacy of Fort Vancouver, NPS has developed a Public Archaeology Program which includes educational opportunities, special tours, and lectures for all ages. Its Kids Digs program introduces children to archaeology through a hands-on excavation of boxes filled with soil layers and artifacts that reflect the typical Fort Vancouver archaeological site. Each summer, Portland State University, Washington State University-Vancouver, and NPS archaeologists conduct a field school for college students at the site.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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