Boyd Archaeological Field School

Boyd Archaeological Field School poster

Durham District School Board – Continuing Education


SUMMER 2019 COURSE DATES: August 9 to 25

Founded in partnership with the Royal Ontario Museum and TRCA in 1975, the Boyd Archaeological Field School (BAFS) is Canada’s only high school credit course offering students the opportunity to earn Ontario High School Credits while participating in real archaeological fieldwork.



Two scholarships, covering the full tuition for the course, are available to any Canadian high school students of First Nations, Métis or Inuit heritage.



One bursary covering 50% of tuition for a deserving student



History & Background

The course originated at the Boyd Field Centre, and annual excavations began at the Seed Barker site in the City of Vaughan, a 470-year old Late Ontario Iroquoian village that was first discovered in the late 1800s. BAFS has helped with the documentation of several Ontario archaeological sites, and has most recently conducted excavations at the Sebastien site, a 700-year old Middle Iroquoian village located in Pickering, Ontario.

“This course has been a life changing experience. I absolutely loved everything … Thanks to all the staff members and the student’s for making this journey so memorable!”Shamim

Since 1975, more than 1,200 Canadian and international students have experienced local archaeology through the program. Many alumni have gone on to pursue post-secondary studies, advanced degrees and careers in archaeology, anthropology, Indigenous law and related fields.

In 2005, BAFS received the Peggi Armstrong Public Archaeology Award from the Ontario Archaeological Society.

students participate in dig during Boyd Archaeological Field School

Register for 2019

About the Course

The Boyd Archaeological Field School takes place at the Claremont Nature Centre. Students gain important background material on archaeology and indigenous history through online learning and classroom sessions, and get full on-the-job training in real archaeological skills.

This experiential course challenges students to strive for new levels of achievement in a team environment. Learning experiences include:

  • Excavation of a real archaeological site.
  • Hands-on activities such as flintknapping and other ancient technologies.
  • An academic classroom component featuring sessions led by certified teachers and professional archaeologists, as well as guest lectures from leading experts.
  • Career and community connections.

student works on site excavation at Boyd Archaeological Field School



A combination of field work, classroom studies and online learning confers a Grade 12 Interdisciplinary Studies credit (IDC4U/O) and a Grade 11 Co-op credit, DCO3O – Creating Opportunities through Co-op. The course meets credit expectations defined by the Ontario Ministry of Education


  • Completion of Grade 10 at time of course

students work on site excavation at Boyd Archaeological Field School



Course instructors include certified Ontario teachers, licensed archaeologists, Indigenous educators and respected professionals in a variety of specialties.


The Claremont Nature Centre is an outdoor education facility on conservation land in Pickering Ontario. The dorms, classrooms, lounge and dining hall are all housed in a cedar chalet-style building constructed in 1970. Learn more about Claremont.

front entrance of Claremont Nature Centre

PRE-COURSE MEETING: Sunday June 9, 2019, 3:00 p.m.

  • Students will tour the building, meet the staff and get an overview of the course.
  • Staff will describe the specialized equipment to be used in the course.
  • Students will have the chance to ask questions and meet the other participants.
  • Students living outside of the GTA can attend the meeting online.


Field Component

Students will excavate at the Sebastien site in Pickering, 10 minutes by school bus from the Field Centre. In the 14th century, this site was the location of an ancestral Wendat settlement of unknown size.

“I just wanted to take the time to tell you how thrilled [we] were that Rachel got an opportunity to attend this school. She truly enjoyed it and said even though it was one of the hardest experiences of her life, it was also one of the best! … I do know this program helped make her a stronger, more mature and focused individual.” — David and Asia Belcher

Students, working in pairs, are responsible for the complete scientific excavation of a two-€metre square, the recovery of any artifacts within, and the mapping of features that will eventually lead to a complete map of the village. Students will contribute real archaeological data to our knowledge of this time period in southern Ontario history.

All excavation is supervised by TRCA€’s licensed professional archaeologists and their staff of field assistants. Staff also conduct laboratory sessions on artifact identification and other fieldwork-related topics.

students work on site excavation at Boyd Archaeological Field School


Classroom Component
While some content is delivered through lectures and seminars, the non€-field portion of our course includes many hands€-on, outdoor sessions devoted to activities such as flintknapping and other ancient technologies. In addition to our own teaching staff, leading guest experts offer instruction as well.

Sample topics:

  • What is archaeology: an introduction to archaeological theory
  • Archaeological excavation
  • Analysis and identification of artifacts
  • Flintknapping (stone tool-making workshop)
  • Origins: First Peoples of the Americas
  • The Palaeo period
  • Life in the Intense Diversification period (hands-on recreations of ancient technologies)
  • Awareness of human interactions with the natural environment
  • Iroquoian Society: the Huron-Wendat at the time of contact
  • Introduction to modern Indigenous philosophies, worldview and contemporary social issues


Online Component
Approximately ten days prior to arrival at Claremont, Durham Continuing Education will activate the online component of the course. Students will complete assignments relating to the co-op credit.


Course Cost

TUITION: $2,495

Includes the following:

  • 17 days meals and accommodation
  • School bus to excavation site
  • Teaching staff
  • Guest lecturers
  • 1:5 staff to student ratio at excavation site


students display artifacts excavated at Boyd Archaeological Field School

Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellation of enrollment in the course must be in writing.
  • $200 deposit is non-refundable in the event of cancellation.
  • Final payment is due by June 1, 2019.
  • Full tuition (minus deposit) is refundable up to and including June 30, 2019.
  • Cancellations after June 30 will not receive a refund, unless withdrawal from the course is for medical reasons and is accompanied by a doctor’s note.
  • Students who are asked to leave the course for inappropriate behavior will not receive a refund.

The Sebastien Scholarship

Fully paid tuition for a summer High School Credit in Archaeology: Available to eligible First Nations, Métis and Inuit students. ($2,495 Value)

female Indigenous student works on a site excavation at the Boyd Archaeological Field School


  • Two scholarships are available, to cover the full tuition of the course.
  • Available to any Canadian high school student of First Nations, Métis or Inuit heritage.
  • Students should have completed Grade 10, and be no older than 21 years at the time of the course.
  • Students will be asked to complete an application form and provide a 500-word personal essay.
  • Students should provide two letters of reference from a community leader (such as an elder or council member), teacher, principal, or guidance counselor.
  • Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee of TRCA educators and archaeologists and FNMI consultants, as well as an external panelist.


Applicants have two options:

1. You can download an application form (in fillable PDF format) and complete it offline. Once you’re done, just email the form to:


2. You can complete and submit an application form online.




Providing one bursary in the amount of $1,200 towards the total cost of tuition to help a deserving student attend the Boyd Archaeological Field School in 2019.



  • Applications will be received from high school students in a letter-based format, with a supporting letter of reference from a high school teacher.


You can complete and submit an application form online.



Contact us at:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’m not a student in the Durham District School Board. Can I take the course?

A: Any student who is a Canadian resident qualifies to take the course for credit. Foreign students can take the course, but additional fees apply to receive Ontario High School Credits.


Q: Why is the course so expensive?

A: The cost per day is comparable to similar courses that provide a high school credit, accommodation and meals. It is also comparable to the cost of summer camp for the same length of stay.

It should be noted that the course has a higher than usual staff-to-student ratio, as the site must be properly supervised and excavated to the standards required by archaeological regulations. The benefit to students is that there are always staff on site available for help with homework assignments and study.

student works on site excavation at Boyd Archaeological Field School


Q: Can you accommodate students with special needs?

A: Every year, students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) take the course. We ask that a copy of the IEP is provided to staff in advance of the course. Students with IEPs benefit from the course’s high staff-to-student ratio.

Claremont Nature Centre was recently renovated to make it more accessible to students with mobility issues. There is an all-terrain wheelchair on site.


Q: Will I need to bring spending money?

A: It’s not essential, but students may wish to purchase the course t-shirt for $20. Also, some of our guest speakers may have books for sale, and our field trip may take us to locations with gift shops.


Q: What special equipment will I need?

A: Green patch work boots (steel toe/sole), plumb bob, tape measure, line level, dustpan. (We’ll go over all of this at the pre-course meeting.)


Q: I really want to take this course, but I already have an IDC4U course and can’t get credit for another one. What are my options?

A: Students who already have an IDC4U credit  may have alternative options to record the course. Please email for further information.


Q: Can you accommodate older students?

A: Students over 21 can take the course, but we cannot provide them with overnight accommodation.

students work on site excavation at Boyd Archaeological Field School


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