Searching the Past

Doing archaeology takes endurance and patience

09-excavation-loSince 2009, students from Oregon State and around the country have come to the lower Salmon River canyon and lived in tents for eight hot summer weeks. When not cooling off in the river, they dig, sift, haul and record as they participate in the search for traces of some of the earliest human activity in the Northwest.

The Cooper’s Ferry Archaeological Field School enables undergraduates and graduate students to become proficient in the latest techniques for digging into the past. Surrounded by steep canyon walls, they learn to excavate with hand-held masonry trowels, record data and create maps.

“My favorite part is learning about the people and their experiences through looking at the tools and the features we’re finding,” says Stef Solisti, a student in biocultural anthropology from Portland and a participant in the 2013 field school.

The field school will run this year from June 23 to August 15.

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