Abbe Museum Field School Offers First-hand Experience in an Archaeological Dig

Tranquility Farm
The August 2 – 7 dig will take place at Tranquility Farm in Gouldsboro

The Abbe Museum, well known for conducting outstanding archaeology programs, is offering its 24th annual archaeological field school August 2-7, 2015. Participants will work with Maine State Archaeologist Dr. Arthur Spiess on the Tranquility Farm coastal shell midden site in Gouldsboro, Maine, and will conduct excavations, practice mapping the site, and learn about the analysis of artifacts.
“The Abbe Field School is an inspiring way to connect with Native American culture that has been present in Maine for thousands of years,” said Douglas Sharpe, 2014 Field School participant and Abbe Trustee. “It connects me to the land and to the people who have used it far longer than Europeans that have been here for a mere half a millennium. It allows me to imagine what lifeways were like in distant past epochs which in turn allow me to richly appreciate the vibrancy and legacy of modern Wabanaki cultures. I have found the field school to be a cornerstone of my experience and learning with the Abbe, and it has expanded my world view.” 
The 2015 excavation will build on previous discoveries at the site, including a house floor and hearth feature that date to about 1,200 years ago. Burned plant remains from the hearth include raspberry, chenopodium, smartweed, wild rye, and dewberry. A variety of pottery, stone tools and bone tools, as well as food bone remains, are plentiful at the Tranquility Farm site. Fieldwork will be complimented by lab sessions and lectures to give participants a broad understanding of archaeology and how it can help us learn about Wabanaki history and culture.

Participation in the field school is open to the public, and while no previous archaeological experience is necessary, enrollment is limited. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the field school is full. The cost is $350 for Abbe Museum members and $400 for non-members. You must be 17 or older to participate. Arrangements for lodging and meals must be made by participants, and are not included in the registration fee.

For more information, contact the Abbe Museum’s Director of Collections and Interpretation, Julia Clark, at (207)-288-3519 or

About the Abbe Museum
The mission of the Abbe Museum, now Maine’s first Smithsonian Affiliate, is to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit. The Abbe has a collection of over 50,000 archaeological, historic and contemporary objects including stone and bone tools, pottery, beadwork, carved root clubs, birch bark canoes, and supporting collections of photographs, maps, and archival documents. It holds the largest and best-documented collection of Maine Native American basketry in any museum. Its collections conservation program is recognized nationally as a model for museums. The Abbe’s two locations - downtown Bar Harbor and at Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park - are now open daily from 10 am – 5 pm.