History — OSU dig site open to the public in July and August, front seat to history

Most people have never seen an active archaeology dig in person. During July and August, however, visitors to the Champoeg State Heritage Area will have the opportunity to tour excavations at the state park.

Oregon State University holds its annual summer archaeology field school at the old town site of Champoeg along the banks of the Willamette River, southeast of Newberg. The six-week field school allows students to excavate an original cabin known to have been occupied by several persons prominent in Oregon’s early history.

For example, it is the site of the first American farm west of the Rocky Mountains and home to John Ball. Dr. Robert Newell later purchased the land, and a portion was used to lay out the eastern section of the town of Champoeg.

Each day students excavate, recover, clean and catalog artifacts that help tell the story of early settlement of one of Oregon’s pioneering communities and a thriving commercial hub.

Park rangers lead tours to the excavation site at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during July and August. The tours are approximately 90 minutes and are free to the public. There is a $5 fee for day-use parking. The first tour is July 7.

For more information contact Park Ranger Dan Klug, 503-678-1251, ext. 222, or visit

Champoeg State Park is located at 8239 Champoeg Road NE.

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