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Archaeology Camp 


Archaeology Camp 2024

June 4-6, 2024

Registration for our 2024 camp has closed.

Check this webpage come next Spring for details on our 2025 camp!


Additional Information for Archaeology Camp 2024

WHAT: The South Dakota State Historical Society, Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and the US Army Corps of Engineers is sponsoring a three-day Archaeology Camp this summer! This camp is an active, outdoor experience on a real archaeological site. Students should be prepared to hike, work in the dirt, listen carefully, and follow directions from camp leaders and professional archaeologists. It will be a fun, hands-on, and immersive learning experience!

Students will learn an introduction to the field of archaeology, why we conduct archaeological digs, what stories artifacts can tell us about the past, history of fur trading posts, how to map a site, and how to use team-building skills. In addition to excavation at the site, other fun activities will include processing artifacts, learning how to do a pedestrian survey, and practicing with atlatls (ancient weapons which preceded the bow and arrow). There will also be tours to the Oahe Chapel, the Oahe Dam Visitor Center, and the Turtle Effigy!

WHO: Students going into grades 4-6 (no exceptions) for the 2024-2025 school year.

WHEN: June 4-6, 2024; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT
The program is structured for students to attend all 3 days. Students should not expect to be released mid-day unless there is an emergency. Please do not schedule appointments for them during this timeframe. If a camper can not attend all three days, they should not register.

All drop off and pick-ups will be at the MacKay Building Conference Room 1 (800 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501). Specific drop off instructions will be provided. Please note this is a change from previous years due to the renovations at the Cultural Heritage Center.Staff will transport the students to and from the archaeology site which is near the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area.

COST: $35 per camper

REGISTRATION: Registration will begin at 8:00 am CDT on Wednesday May 1st, 2024 and will close at 5 pm on May 3rd, 2024 or when the camp is full, whichever comes first. Registration is limited to the first 20 applicants who have not yet attended in the past. Prior participants may apply, but their names will be added to a lottery and only considered if there are less than 20 new campers. No walk-in campers will be accepted on camp days. The registration system will log applications in the order in which they are received. Please note that in previous years registration was full and closed within 20 minutes of opening!

To complete the registration form and submit payment, please click here. Registrations will be accepted online only. Please be sure to include an e-mail address in the space provided on the form. All applicants will be notified via e-mail whether or not they have been accepted!

A few weeks prior to camp beginning, parents or guardians of students accepted will be mailed a letter detailing what campers need to bring and other specifics. This mailing will also contain two release forms which must be signed and returned no later than 5 pm on May 17th, 2024. If these forms are not received by the deadline, the camper will be turned down and replaced with someone on the waiting list.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact or (605)773-3458.

Overview and Pictures of Previous Camp Years

Here is an overview of Archaeology Camp 2021! Each year SHPO runs the camp schedule and activities closely to previous years, with small exceptions based on weather, staff, etc. In 2021 we had 15 students which were split up into five teams, each team had two team leaders; one a professional archaeologist and the other a State Historic Preservation employee! Click here to see what the 2021 camp schedule looked like and here for 2021 camp photos to get an idea of what fun things campers will expereince in 2024!

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