First Advisor

Shelby Anderson

Term of Graduation

Summer 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Anthropology






Community archaeology -- Oregon -- Portland, Collectors and collecting



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 185 pages)


Over the course of daily life, people engage with archaeology in various ways, including experiences with archaeology on their own land and as part of family collections of archaeological material. As a result, members of the public often hold considerable archaeological knowledge that professionals have historically overlooked. Recent scholarship focuses on the issue of incorporating the public and collectors into archaeological research and ways for capturing that information. Professional-public collaboration is particularly important in the Portland, Oregon area, where many archaeological sites are located on private land and there is a long history of collecting.

The goal of this thesis was to develop and evaluate a systematic process for collecting and investigating information about archaeological sites on private land and collections in private hands throughout the Portland, Oregon area. To achieve this, I designed and carried out a five part project that involved: 1) developing a database and associated Geographic Information System (GIS) to organize publicly reported archaeological sites and private collection information; 2) population of the database with archaeological information from various archival sources; 3) testing public outreach approaches for gathering additional information for the database; 4) assessing the effectiveness of the approach through observations made from of outreach results; and 5) conducting fieldwork on private land to further evaluate the process investigating publicly reported archaeological data.

I conducted outreach at seven events, using my outreach methods and materials with different degrees of success; the response rate to the public survey was low but face-to-face interactions yielded new information on sites and collections, and identified potential future collaborators. The archaeological survey was successful, identifying the location of a potential Merrybell Phase site in a previously under investigated area. I recommend that future outreach and database development efforts should focus on active, face-to-face outreach in the region to continue to improve relationships between professional archaeologists and collectors. I also recommend that efforts continue to build on the database that I constructed, through continued work with the public, Tribes, and agencies.

My project shows that fostering collaboration between different entities, including collectors, can make a significant contribution to the archaeological record and in the area. This project has identified the efforts it takes to establish trust before collaboration may begin and that a continuously active outreach is needed to maintain and improve the relationships between professionals and the public.


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