Facilities and Labs

Integrated into the Portland facility is an exhibition/gallery/presentation space, designed to foster interaction between the public and the archaeology staff, faculty, and students. This gathering area has been designed with a direct view into the Archaeology Wet and Dry Labs. The central processing areas for incoming artifact collections and samples that will be analyzed and/or curated. This crucial moment, when fieldwork meets lab work, provides an excellent opportunity to share with members of the public and school groups the value of archaeological contexts, good record-keeping, and appropriate curatorial steps. This insight into the archaeological process often results in greater engagement with local heritage, visitors becoming stewards of that heritage, and awareness of a possible career choice. Four of the new labs will be dedicated teaching laboratories suited for human osteology and skeletal forensics, artifact analysis, zooarchaeology, and engaged ethnography.


Four new labs will be dedicated teaching laboratories suited for human osteology and skeletal forensics, lithic analysis, ceramic analysis, and zooarchaeology. Two additional ones will be used for preparing soil samples, artifact cleaning, processing, and accessioning artifact collections. Much of this work gets done by student volunteers, work study students, or students doing independent studies with faculty mentors. This program also plan developing a bioarchaeological agenda for the study of past populations in the Midwest region. Through the analysis of skeletal remains and current databases in different local institutions, students will learn how to analyze bone markers and lesions to reconstruct health and disease in past populations. The bioarchaeological agenda plans to have strong articulation and collaboration with wet laboratories in the School of Medicine.


Archaeological Wet Lab - the central processing facility for incoming artifacts and samples that will be analyzed and/or curated at the new facility, has been designed with a half-height wall that permits the public to observe and interact with archaeologists at work. This crucial moment, in the field meets the lab, provides an excellent opportunity to share with members of the public and school groups the value of archaeological contexts, good record-keeping, and appropriate curatorial steps. This kind of interaction not only incites a higher level of engagement with local heritage, often inspiring visitors to become stewards of that heritage, but also provides insight into the archaeological process as part of making histories and as a possible career choice.