Archaeology Field Assistant Program

Over 90% of the archaeology work done in British Columbia is completed by contract archaeologists in compliance with provincial heritage legislation.  Students interested in working as a crew member on these field projects often do not have the applied skills needed to perform the job.  The Archaeology Field Assistant Program is designed to fill the knowledge gap by teaching a diverse set of skills, like using survey equipment, recording sites and culturally modified trees, and basic artifact identification.  Students are also introduced to provincial heritage legislation and First Nations traditional heritage management and perspectives of archaeology.  While this program on its own wont necessarily lead to employment, the skills learned are an excellent complement to an AD or BA  in anthropology.  Successful completion of the program is recognized with a Certificate of Competency from the BC Archaeology Branch along with the Camosun credential.

This intensive program is completed over a four week period and is offered every spring.  Timetabling varies every year, but as an example, the spring 2018 program included 3 Wednesday evening classes at the Lansdowne campus and four Friday/Saturday full day modules.  The first  module were half days on campus (8:30-1pm).  The second block was an overnight fieldtrip to Galiano Island, and the final two blocks were full days in the Tseycum community on the Saanich peninsula where students participated in an applied survey project.

The pre-requisite for this program is a C in English 12, or by assessment.  Assessments can be discussed and organized through Camosun’s Assessment Center.  Information is available at  or (250) 370 3597.

This program fills up fast, so do not wait until April to register if you are interested!  Students who are registered in the program will attend an orientation meeting in April; please check here for updates and special notices!

the course outline is not posted here. If you need another copy you can email me at

Below are the links for the various readings listed in the course outline:

Information related to the Galiano island fieldtrip: Colin Grier has been working at Dionisio Point on Galiano Island for almost 20 years. Here is an article written for the Midden where he talks about some of this research. We will visit both of the sites discussed in this article. Here is a segment from NPR (National Public Radio) about the work being done as of 2011. And finally, here is another article, written for a popular audience, that summarizes work at the site, with a great drawing that visualizes what the village might have looked like.

  • Please print off this site form for DfRu-13, a site we will be visiting on Galiano Island. This will give you a good sense of information that you will be collecting in teams to fill out a site form for another site.

Because humans have lived in the province for thousands of years, archaeology is encountered in the course of development all the time.  Here is an example of how it is reported in the media, allowing us to decipher what is going on here and why.

Here is a useful declination calculator to accurately set your compass to true north for anywhere in the country.  You can select either with logitude and latitude coordinates, or (more easily) based on the closest city.

Grace Islet has brought archaeology, CRM, and indigenous perspectives into the media spotlight.  Here are some resources to consider:

The Problems that arise when cemeteries are not cemeteries under the law Globe and Mail article January 2015

Attempt to Downplay Grace Islet burial Ground Dismays Archaeologists  Times Colonist August 2014