Final season of archaeology field school underway at BLM’s Cooper’s Ferry site


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Cottonwood Field Office

Media Contact:

Cottonwood, Idaho – The Oregon State University’s (OSU) archaeology field school is underway for the season at the BLM’s Cooper’s Ferry site on the Lower Salmon River Canyon.  The field school has been an ongoing cooperative effort between OSU and the Bureau of Land Management for the past decade.  Through the partnership, the BLM-managed site has hosted college students from across the U.S. who spend a portion of their summer conducting research on early human occupation of the river canyon.

This season is the last for the field school’s work at Cooper’s Ferry.  Each year, the school has carefully uncovered layers of history, piecing together generations of use and inhabitants in the canyon – some dating back nearly 12,000 years.  By the end of this season, work in the excavation pit will be complete.    

OSU Professor Dr. Loren Davis leads the field school and conducts research in the Pacific Northwest and Mexico on early human occupation.  Through the excavations and findings at Cooper's Ferry, they hope to contribute critical data to help answer many questions about the first peoples of the Pacific Northwest and by extension, the Americas.    

Free tours of the site are offered Wednesday through Sunday, from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. throughout the month of July.  Everyone is invited to tour and learn more about the effort underway and the cultural heritage of the area.  The excavation site at Cooper’s Ferry offers a great opportunity to connect kids and adults to America’s natural and cultural heritage.   

“Peeling back the layers of sediment has provided so many clues to the lifestyles of previous canyon inhabitants,” said David Sisson, BLM archeologist for the Coeur d’Alene District and long time coordinator of the partnership. “We hope the public will take advantage of visiting this unique site in its final season.  There is so much for all ages to see and learn about the people who inhabited the river canyon long ago.”

For additional information, please visit: or contact the Cottonwood Field Office at (208) 962-3245. 



The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.