Back to All Events

Archaeology and Historic Preservation: The Dirt on Deerfield

***PLEASE NOTE: The museum course on Archaeology and Historic Preservation will now begin Wednesday, March 14. Spots are still available for the course - registration will close on Monday, March 12.***

Have you ever wanted to know more about archaeology and its role in historic preservation?  How do museums and property owners take care of their archaeological heritage?  If you own a historic house and find artifacts, what should you do? Explore the answers to these questions, and many more, in this year’s museum course on archaeology.

Historic Deerfield has had a strong connection to archaeological research since the 1970s, and we have had a more than thirty-year collaborative relationship with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, and were a partial sponsor of the UMass Summer Field School in Archaeology every summer. This class will include lectures and discussions of the archaeological histories of the Connecticut River Valley that we have encountered in Deerfield.  Come and learn how archaeologists attempt to paint a picture of Deerfield’s past by investigating how the landscape and homelots have changed over time. 

Each session will be broken into sections; lectures will be followed by hands-on activities featuring artifacts and materials from sites in Deerfield.

Claire Carlson is the Education Program Coordinator at Historic Deerfield. She holds a B.A. in anthropology from Hamilton College, and M.A. in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research specialties include New England Archaeology, Archaeology and K-12 Education, and Place-Based Education.

Course Schedule (Wednesdays in March)

March 14 (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
Introduction to Archaeology and Local History

• Emphasis will be placed on the importance of archaeological research and historic preservation to learn more about people and cultures in the past. Participants will learn about the local, state, and federal laws guiding archaeological research, and the differences between cultural resource management and academic research.

• Ethical issues involved in archaeological research will be featured, and promoting responsible site preservation and protection will be highlighted. Local sites and issues will be discussed.

March 21 (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
Deerfield’s Archaeological Past on Old Main Street

• Highlights of archaeological projects in the village will be explored and include the sites at the Frary House, Moors House, and Williams House.

• The class will include a hands-on session working with documents, maps, and artifacts from a site in Deerfield.

March 28 (7 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
Exploring the Archaeology of the Pocumtuck Homeland

• Learn how archaeologists use multiple sources --from Native American oral traditions, archaeological research, and geological evidence-- to help us to tell stories of Deerfield’s ancient past.

• The class will feature an in-depth examination of a local site that the UMass field school excavated that revealed new information about Deerfield’s Native histories prior to European settlement.

The cost for the course is $100 ($90 for members, $125 for new members*). Space is limited, sign up early!  To register, click on the button below or to pay by mail, download a registration form. For more information, contact Julie Orvis at or (413) 775-7179.  *This registration includes a new individual Membership in the Friends of Historic Deerfield (a $50 value) that entitles you to free admission to Historic Deerfield, 10% discount at the Deerfield Inn and Museum Gift Shop and Bookstore, Historic Deerfield magazine, Members’  News and Calendar, and invitations to members’ exhibition openings, lectures, and special trips. This special membership offer is not valid for renewals or lapsed memberships.

Cancellation Policy: A full refund of the registration fee can be obtained if you cancel before 4:30 p.m. on Friday March 2, 2018.