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Archaeology Camp NOTE: There will be no 2019 camp due to a lack of archaeologists.


Archaeology Camp 2018 participants excavating pits.
Archaeology Camp 2018 participants excavating pits.
Click on image to view larger.

Information for Archaeology Camp 2018  NOTE: There will be no 2019 camp due to a lack of archaeologists.

NOTE: Archaeology Camp 2018 is full. We are no longer accepting registrations.

WHAT: The South Dakota State Historical Society, Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), is sponsoring a three-day Archaeology Camp. 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.

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 Oahe Chapel, the Oahe Dam Visitor Center, and the Turtle Effigy as well as tours of the South Dakota State Archives and Museum.

WHO: Students going into grades 4-6 (no exceptions) for the 2018-2019 school year.

WHEN: June 5-7, 2018; 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.

Cultural Heritage Center
900 Governors Drive
Pierre, South Dakota
Staff will transport the students to and from the archaeology site which is near the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area.

COST: $30 per student

REGISTRATION: Limited to the first 20 applicants who have not 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.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. CDT on May 1 and will close at 5 p.m. on May 4 or when the camp is full, whichever comes first. Registrations will be accepted online only. The registration system will log in the applications in the order in which they are received.  

To complete the registration form and submit payment, please click here and then on the link at the bottom of that page. NOTE: This link will not be available until 8 a.m. May 1st. 

If your child is accepted, you will receive a letter detailing specifics about camp several weeks before camp starts. Included with that letter will be two release forms which must be signed and returned no later than 5 p.m. on May 31st.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paige Olson at 605-773-6004 or by e-mail at

Overview of Archaeology Camp 2018

Archaeology Camp 2018 was held on June 5-7.  There were 22 youth participants, 17 adult staff (ten archaeologists, six team leaders, one floater), and two presenters. To see more detailed information about the camp and to view camp photos, please click here.


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