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Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136

Explore New Hampshire’s past at an archaeology field school

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, through its New Hampshire State Conservation and Rescue Archaeology Program (SCRAP), will be operating two archaeology field schools this summer, one in the North Country and the other at the Seacoast. Each is open to participation by the public.

The 2009 SCRAP Field School in Prehistoric Archaeology continues excavations begun in 2003 at the Potter Site, a Paleoindian campsite located in Randolph, NH. Instruction will emphasize not only excavation techniques but also identifying artifact types, proper recording of scientific data and the ethical considerations of public archaeology.

The Potter Site Field School, supervised by New Hampshire State Archaeologist Dr. Richard Boisvert, is structured into two sessions, each two weeks long, beginning on June 22 and July 6. The Field School operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with occasional evening lectures by invited scholars. Participants may volunteer; graduate or undergraduate credit through Plymouth State University is also available.

To the south, the Oyster River Environs Archaeology Project (OREAP) will take place at the site of the Field-Bickford Garrison, located on Durham Point at the mouth of the Oyster River on Little Bay in Durham. The Garrison was built prior to 1638 as a pioneer homestead, tavern and ferry landing, and the site was one of the fortified structures attacked in the famous Oyster River Plantation Massacre in 1694.

This summer, OREAP will continue to work on the Garrison site itself, define the limits of the structure, identify associated outbuildings and related ferry facilities, and establish a baseline of information for a broader investigation of this and other Oyster River Plantation sites. This field school runs in two-week sessions beginning July 6 and July 20, operating on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Work on the site will be supervised by Craig J. Brown, in coordination with Boisvert.

“Field schools are important not only because they help us learn more about those who came before us, but also because they do so in ways that explore the past according to professional archaeological standards,” said Boisvert. “It’s a great tragedy whenever someone begins exploring an historical site without knowing the proper way to do so. When that happens, so much about our past can be lost forever.”

Participation in the 2009 Field Schools is open to anyone 16 or older, and advance registration is required. There is no fee to participate as a volunteer, however, a $35 donation by each participant will help to defray costs of supplies and instructional materials. Individuals seeking graduate or undergraduate credit for the Potter Site Field School should contact Plymouth State University for more information. Meals and lodging are available for the Potter Site Field School for a nominal fee.

New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among its most important environmental assets. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit or call 603-271-3483.


NOTE TO EDITORS: To arrange an interview with Richard Boisvert, or to obtain photos from previous field schools for publication, please contact Shelly Angers, 603-271-3136,



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