Archaeology Summer Camp in Deadwood Gives Kids Indiana Jones Experience | Black Hills Travel Blog

Archaeology Summer Camp in Deadwood Gives Kids Indiana Jones Experience

Updated: Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Many of Deadwood’s archaeology digs have been in the Chinatown district, where the Fee Lee Wong family lived. Kids in the summer archaeology camp may get to dig here.

All right, admit it: at some point in your life, you wanted to be an archaeologist. You were probably 11 and had just seen Indiana Jones for the first time. Then again, maybe you were 35 and had just seen Indiana Jones. It doesn't matter. Since the days of Heinrich Schliemann, Arthur Evans and Howard Carter, archeology has been a dream job for most people - somewhere between astronaut and fireman.

Deadwood's Adams Museum knows that, so they've teamed up with the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission to organize an archeology camp for 20 children for one week in Deadwood this summer, from June 23 through June 27. Alas, the camp is only open to kids ages nine through twelve (between the third and seventh grades), so if you're just a kid at heart, you'll have to settle for sending your children and experiencing it vicariously. Either that or do a lot of shrinking.

During the week-long camp, kids will get the chance to participate in a real archaeological dig in Deadwood led by real, live, honest-to-goodness archaeologists. Many of Deadwood's archaeological digs in recent years have been in the old Chinatown district, where the Fee Lee Wong family (pictured above) lived and worked. There hasn't been any official word yet, but the children in the summer camp may get to learn in this area.

The curriculum includes a crash-course in the archaeological process, as well as hikes from the excavation site to related locations, a visit the State Archaeological Research Center in Rapid City and daily lessons from professionals ranging from general historic preservation to mapping techniques and - perhaps most thrilling of all to a third-grader - how to use a compass! Heck, I've been out of college for years and I'm a little jealous about the compass part...

The camp is incredibly inexpensive - only $25 for the whole five-day experience. So what's the catch? With only 20 spots available, the camp's going to fill up fast. In fact, I'd heard a rumor that it's already full, but I know they've got waiting lists. If anything else, you can try to get a spot for the following year.

If you're not far from the Black Hills, you can pick up enrollment forms at the Adams Museum, the Deadwood Historic Preservation office (in City Hall) or at the Deadwood Rec Center. With the possibility of the camp being already full, you'll need to get your kids' registrations in as soon as possible, but absolutely no later than May 15. If you're out of the area and want to register, you can contact our good friend Anne Rogers (who also happens to be the Adams Museum Educator) by calling 605.578.1928. Tell her the blog sent you.

About the Author

Dustin is a fifth-generation South Dakotan, grew up exploring the forested gulches of the Black Hills. While studying at Oxford University, Dustin discovered the amazing combination of student discounts and the European rail system, and set off to see the continent. Eleven countries, five trains, a Greek fishing boat and several pubs later, Dustin realized a deep affinity for travel. Although he’s journeyed across three continents since then, the Black Hills remain one of his favorite places to explore. Now a member of the Western Writers of America, Dustin has penned several travel guides on the Black Hills, Badlands, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming for publishers including Fodor’s and Globe Pequot.