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Discovery of the Month: International Archaeology Day

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 Category History

Each year, the Presidio celebrates International Archaeology Day, a family event that allows visitors of all ages to make their own discoveries a​nd learn about the layered history of this special place. This year's International Archaeology Day will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016, from 10 am to 3 pm at the Presidio Officers' Club. To get a better idea of all the fun in store, we asked the Presidio's archaeologists, interns, and docents for a preview. Please join us!

An International Archaeology Day passport, your guide to discovering the archaeology of the Presidio.

Grab a Passport

We'll have nine different stations to visit in and around the Presidio Officers' Club, each with a different activity to help deepen your understanding of archaeology and the work being done in the Presidio. Guests will get their own International Archaeology Day Passport – a booklet you can carry with you throughout the celebrations. Get it stamped at all nine stations and become an archaeologist for the day!

Watch a Live Dig

Head out to Archaeology Field Station in front of the Presidio Officers' Club to talk with Presidio archaeologists and discover what we've learned during our excavations this season. "We've made some exciting discoveries in 2016," Kari Jones, Presidio Trust archaeologist, shared, "and International Archaeology Day is your chance to learn all about our new finds before they're reburied."

Kari Jones, the Presidio Trust Archaeologist (center), demonstrates excavation techniques to two Presidio Trust interns.

Visit the Outdoor Lab

Visit the Outdoor Lab and watch archaeologists discover the artifacts hidden in the dirt from the site. "Wet screening is one of my favorite parts of the archaeological process," said archaeology intern Zack Babineau. "We separate dirt from artifacts, so a lot of interesting objects are found during this process. With the help of dedicated volunteers, we transform hundreds of dirt filled buckets into a few small trays of precious artifacts."

Archaeology intern Zack Babineau shows off the buckets he wet screened.

Get Behind-the-Scenes at the Presidio Archaeology Lab

We have our own lab here in the Presidio, and during International Archaeology Day we provide hands-on opportunities for aspiring archaeologists to solve complex puzzles. "One of my favorite parts of archaeology is piecing together the story of the past, both through the physical excavation of the site, as well as through artifact analysis," said Katherine Eadie, an archaeology intern. "Oftentimes, it's not until we get back to the lab that we understand how the artifacts relate to each other. The interpretation of the past goes far beyond just digging," Katherine explained. "And our understanding of the Presidio is constantly changing both during the field season and the lab season – that's what makes archaeology so much fun."

Archaeology intern Katherine Eadie and volunteer Nancy August sort artifacts in the Presidio Archaeology Lab.​

The Schedule: International Archaeology Day

From 10 am to 3 pm, we'll have the El Presidio site, the Archaeology Lab, and our Collections Facility open for guests to visit and explore. At 12 pm and 2 pm, we'll provide guided tours of the ​ El Presidio site and Archaeology Lab. Though registration isn't required, it's always appreciated.

  • Creative Family Fun: For young and aspiring archaeologists – enjoy the chance to craft a Spanish Colonial-style masterpiece in "Scratch Away Ceramics," from 11 am to 4 pm inside the Presidio Officers' Club
  • Guided Tours: Explore the layers of history inside the Presidio Officers' Club with a guided tour of the Presidio Archaeology Lab and the outdoor El Presidio archaeology site

Ongoing Archaeology Exploration

Archaeology Lab Tours at the Presidio Officers' Club
Weekly Guided Tours - Every Wednesday at 1 pm
Open Lab Hours - Every Wednesday from 2 to 4 pm​