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Community Heritage and Place-Based Learning at the Linn Site, Idaho

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

Rebecca A. Sgouros
Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, PO Box 1005, Jackson, WY 83001, (;
Matthew A. Stirn
Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, PO Box 1005, Jackson, WY 83001, (;


Place-based education is a method of teaching that uses exploration of a local environment or community through hands-on, real-world learning to foster a strong connection to community. This model emphasizes co-creation of knowledge throughout the learning process and has been applied to a variety of disciplines, including social and natural sciences. Taught through place-based approaches in both the classroom and in the field, archaeology can provide a curriculum that connects students to their environment and local heritage. The Mercill Archaeology Center in Jackson, Wyoming, seeks to address an “educational resources gap” in the local community by offering place-based programming for students. The programs focused on the archaeology of the Linn Site and operated in two formats: a short (five-day) camp for elementary-age students and a more intensive (semester-long) course with gifted and talented students from the local middle school. Students participated in introductory cultural history and archaeological classes before joining archaeologists in active research. By highlighting these programs as case studies, this article will explore the successes and challenges of place-based field programming as part of active archaeological research. It is hoped that these models will provide guidance for other community-oriented archaeological projects seeking to implement a place-based approach.



La educación basada en un sitio o lugar (educación en sitio) es un método de enseñar que aplica la exploración de las de un ambiente o una comunidad locales a través del aprendizaje práctico y en el mundo real, para fomentar una conexión fuerte a la comunidad. Este modelo de la educación acentúa la co-creación del conocimiento a través del proceso de aprendizaje y se ha aplicado a una variedad de disciplinas incluyendo ciencias sociales y naturales. La arqueología, impartida desde el aula y en el campo, ofrece una plataforma de gran alcance para la “educación en sitio” y puede proporcionar un plan de estudios que conecte a los estudiantes con su ambiente y herencia local. El Mercill Archaeology Center en Jackson, Wyoming intenta atacar un “faltante en los recursos educativos” en la comunidad local al ofrecer programas de “educació en sitio” para sus estudiantes. Los programas enfocados en la arqueología del Sitio Linn operaron en dos formatos: un campamento corto de 5 días para estudiantes de escuela primaria y un curso más intensivo (de un semestre de duración) para alumnos destacados de la escuela secundaria-media local. Los estudiantes participaron en cursos introductorios de historia cultural y en clases de arqueología antes de acompañar a los arqueólogos al campo. Al destacar estos programas como estudios de casos específicos este artículo pretende explorar los éxitos y retos de los programas de campo con “educación en sitio” como parte de la investigación arqueológica activa. Se espera que estos modelos brindarán guías para otros proyectos arqueológicos orientados a comunidades locales que también deseen implementar la “educación en sitio”.

Research Article
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2016

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