Archeology Talks and Programs Offered at Three Parks Coast to Coast

Students at work in the Public Archaeological Field School at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. NPS photo.

If you're interested in archeology, three parks are offering a variety of talks and activities that literally cover the subject from coast to coast.

First up on Tuesday, June 28 is a talk at Cape Cod National Seashore. If you're curious about what life was like for the people who lived on Cape Cod thousands of years ago, you'll find some answers in "The Early Cape Codders - Insights from Archeological Research with Frank MacManamon."

The free program about early inhabitants of Cape Cod and their lives will be offered at 7:00 p.m. on June 28 at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, at the intersection of Route 6 and Nauset Road in Eastham, Massachusetts. It's sponsored by Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Dr. McManamon can draw from plenty of material for his talk. He conducted many of Cape Cod National Seashore's significant archeological surveys in the 1980s and later served as Chief Archeologist of the National Park Service. His most recent professional publication is the four-volume encyclopedia, Archaeology in America (Greenwood Press, 2009), a four-volume encyclopedia for which he is the general editor.

Now the executive director of the Center for Digital Antiquity at Arizona State University, Dr. McManamon is leading a two-fold effort in the field of archaeology: the development of an international repository, and the accessibility of digital archaeological images, reports, and other information for public use.

Archeology buffs on the opposite side of the country can observe a project that's currently underway during the Public Archaeological Field School at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Washington.

Now in its tenth season, the field school will run from June 16 through July 23, 2011, and the public is welcome to visit on Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

"This unique National Park Service program is a signature educational program for the Pacific Northwest," said Superintendent Tracy Fortmann. "For ten seasons, this school has trained undergraduate and graduate students from around the nation, and internationally, in historical archaeology and the preservation of cultural resources."

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is described as "an unparalleled archaeological laboratory, comprising the remains of Fort Vancouver, the ca. 1825-1860 regional headquarters and supply depot for the Hudson’s Bay Company, and Vancouver Barracks, the first (ca. 1849-2010) permanent U.S. Army post and command center in the Pacific Northwest."

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.

A park spokesperson says this year’s field school will continue its exploration of Fort Vancouver’s multicultural Village (also known as "Kanaka Village"). This colonial village was the largest settlement in the Pacific Northwest in the 1830s and 1840s. It contained people from all over the world and the Pacific Northwest, including Native Hawaiians, the Métis, and people of many different American Indian tribes.

"It is fitting that this program’s tenth year is focused on the Village as it symbolizes the early history of diversity in the Pacific Northwest," said Doug Wilson, Director of the NPS-Northwest Cultural Resources Institute and Adjunct Associate Professor at Portland State University.

In a new component of the field school, students will help to record the condition of grave markers at Vancouver’s Old City Cemetery. This cemetery on Mill Plain and Grand Boulevard has been subject to significant recent vandalism. Students will record grave markers from the 19th and early 20th centuries to learn about the history of Vancouver and to set a baseline condition for the headstones to help in their protection and management.

The field school is a joint effort by Portland State University, Washington State University Vancouver, the National Park Service, Northwest Cultural Resources Institute, and the Fort Vancouver National Trust. You'll find directions to the park at this link.

Third stop on the list of archeology opportunities is Gulf Islands National Seashore, where a five-part series of special programs gets underway on June 30.

Superintendent Dan Brown says the summer program series on archeology will be presented by archeologists with the University of West Florida and Florida Public Archeology Network. Programs will begin at 6:00 p.m. on the dates indicated at the Fort Pickens auditorium.

Here's the current line-up:

• Thursday, June 30, Irina Sorset, "16th-Century Emanuel Point Ships."
• Tuesday, July 5, Dr. Della Scott-Ireton, "Shipwrecks of Pensacola Bay."
• Thursday, July 14, Dr. Ramie Gougeon, "Native American Cultures of the Southeast and Pensacola"
• Tuesday, July 19, Norma Harris, "Spanish Settlement on Santa Rosa Island, 1722-1752."
• Thursday, August 4, Dr. William Lees, "Civil War in Florida."

The programs are free, but there is an $8 entrance fee to the Fort Pickens Area. For additional information about these programs or other programs offered at the Seashore, call the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center at (850) 934-2600 or visit the park website.