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Our Role

The Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) acts as the chief public contact for archaeology in Minnesota.

Educational Duties

Included in the state archaeologist's role is an obligation to promote archaeological education. This can involve:

  • sponsoring public events;
  • producing educational materials; and
  • making presentations to various organizations, to the public at large, and to school groups.

Note, because we are a small office with only two people and because we have many other duties, we are unable to comply with all requests for classroom presentations. We do occasionally visit middle schools and high schools, but have found that grades younger than sixth do not significantly benefit from in-class professional archaeological presentations. One reason is that younger students have different concepts of time that hamper broad archaeological understanding of Minnesota’s past.

Basic archaeological concepts can be introduced by classroom teachers themselves with no real need for professional archaeological presentations. Younger students benefit the most from hands-on displays of artifacts, visiting museums with archaeological exhibits, or viewing archaeology in action. The state archaeologist’s webpages contain information and links that can lead to experiences that benefit students of all ages.

With regard to general public education, OSA is the chief sponsor of Minnesota Archaeology Week. Archaeology Week includes events that students and teachers can attend. The Minnesota Archaeology Fair at Fort Snelling, held on one of the weekends of Archaeology Week, provides multiple venues to have archaeological experiences and build knowledge.

OSA makes presentations to public groups and fraternal organizations throughout the year, but, again, we are unable to comply with all requests for talks due to limited staff and the demands of our other duties.

Other Duties and Tasks

Explore the rest of our website to learn more about the state archaeologist's duties to government, professional archaeologists, and the public.

Specific information about duties and legal responsibilities is outlined on our Laws and Statutes page.

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