Archaeology Roadshow invites public to dig into the past

The archeology department invites all to discover the past at the fifth annual Archeology Roadshow. The archeology department organized this dwellings-themed event for all PSU students and the public.

The event includes interactive displays and demonstrations to teach about archeology and help raise awareness about its importance. This free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 4 in Portland State’s Hoffman Hall.

Project and volunteer coordinator Jonathan Duelks is passionate about the upcoming roadshow. He worked closely with project coordinator Lyssia Merrifield on the project. The roadshows have been developed through the Public Archeology class.

“The Public Archeology class and this event came out of the need for archeologists to make archaeology relevant to the public because most of it is federally funded in some way,” Duelks said. “If a road is going in or if there are buildings being put in or if there is park land being disturbed…archeology has to be done to make sure that archeologic sights aren’t disturbed.”

Duelks has been coordinating with several expeditors such as universities, tribes, cultural resource management firms and students. These are only some of the expeditors who will put together exhibits to be shown at the event.

“A lot of it [archeology] doesn’t get out to the public, so we want to connect people to archaeology, specifically we focus on local and broader northwest archeology,” Duelks said.

Merrifield and Duelks are excited for the attractions that are going to be presented at the show. “There are so many exciting exhibits and we don’t want anyone to feel left out here,” Merrifield said.

The boxcavation attraction is particularly fun for children, giving them the opportunity to take part in an actual excavation. “Boxcavation is a favorite for me. Mike Etnier, a PSU professor, buried a seal about a year ago in a specially made box, and by the day of the roadshow it will be skeletonized and folks will be able to aid in excavating it,” Merrifield said.

There will also be a brew crew from the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives who will be brewing an 1872 beer recipe. This specific recipe was meant to be brewed at home, and will add an even more historic component to the roadshow. Samples of the beer will be provided at the roadshow.

For the first time, there will be a third grade class from Southwest Charter School presenting their own surprise exhibit.

“[The show] has always been family friendly even though it is geared toward all ages,” Duelks said. “We end up with a lot of hands-on activities and exhibits.” He thinks it is important for children to know and learn about archaeology through active experiences at the roadshow. “I think it’ll be great for other kids to see these kids being part of an event like this. I’m excited for that connection.”

A panel of experts will be available to review artifacts from the public, whether that be an old stone, a necklace left by a grandparent or something found on a hike. Attendees are encouraged to bring and show these items to the expert panel. The experts will give their opinion of what the artifact is, whether or not it is indeed an artifact, how old it is or where it came from. Through this activity, they hope the public will see why archaeology is important and why the context of artifacts is important.

This event is made to help people learn more about archeology through displays and interactive activities. The free event is located in Hoffman Hall.