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Archaeology Camp 


Archaeology Camp 2017 participants excavating a pit.
Archaeology Camp 2017 participants excavating a pit.
Click on image to view larger.

Information for Archaeology Camp 2018

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. The camp is full and the link has been removed. 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 2017

Archaeology Camp 2017 was held on June 20-22.  There were 20 youth participants and 22 adults - 12 archaeologists, five adult team leaders, and five adult presenters and floaters. To see more detailed information about the camp and to view camp photos, please click here.


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