Boyd Archaeological Field School

NOTE: The Boyd Archaeological Field School 2018 is now fully enrolled.

Boyd Archaeological Field School 2018 poster

Durham District School Board
Continuing Education
SUMMER 2018 COURSE DATES: August 10 to 26
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 Grade 12 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


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.

Registration for Summer 2018

The Boyd Archaeological Field School 2018 is now fully enrolled.

To place your name on our waiting list, please contact

We are still accepting applications for the Sebastien Scholarship and the Carr-Reid Bursary.

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.

student works on site excavation at Boyd Archaeological Field School



A combination of field work, classroom studies and online learning confers an Interdisciplinary Studies (IDC4O/U) credit and a Co-op credit. The course meets credit expectations defined by the Ontario Ministry of Education


  • Completion of Grade 10 at time of course
  • Recommendation of principal or teacher

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


  • 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.
  • The course textbook will be distributed.
  • Students will receive their first assignment.


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

students display artifacts excavated at Boyd Archaeological Field School


The Sebastien Scholarship

Fully paid tuition for a summer High School Credit in Archaeology: Available to eligible First Nations, Métis and Inuit students. ($2,395 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.




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 2018.


  • Applications will be received from high school students in a letter-based format, with a supporting letter of reference from a high school teacher.
  • The deadline for application is May 18, 2018.



Contact Aldo Missio:

Frequently Asked Questions

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 many 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 some of our guest speakers may have books for sale. In addition, 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, trowel, 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 contact Aldo Missio for further information.

students work on site excavation at Boyd Archaeological Field School

2017 Photo Album