Online Archaeology Collection

OCTA’s Online Archaeology Collection database is a continuously growing collection of archaeological trail articles available in one digital place, and organized so that those interested in trail archaeology can easily access relevant information.

Did you know that 10% of archaeology is in the field while the other 90% involves research, processing artifacts if collected, recording, analyses, and writing reports? Often archaeology doesn’t require excavation. Professional archaeologists often find cooperation with citizen scientists provides them with an incredible amount of useful information. Historic trail researchers can think of themselves as citizen scientists who are recording information to try to solve any number of questions related to historic trail sites, trail segments, etc.

This online collection provides articles that may be helpful to professional archaeologists, citizen scientists researching historic trails, and the general public. The archaeology collection consists of two parts, one regarding an explanation of methods used during the endeavors of professional archaeologists and citizen scientists, and the other section on archaeological excavations and field observations at specific historic trail sites or areas.


This archaeological collection contains published journal articles, newsletter articles, archaeological consultant documentation, newspaper articles, and other reports from geophysical investigations, pedestrian surveys, archaeological investigations of many types, excavations, National Register of Historic Places and Landmark site assessments, cultural resource inventories, artifact preservation associated with national historic trail sites, some with images, and more. Trails with archaeological sites are the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, the Mormon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and other lesser known historic trails traveled during the pioneers journey West.


This collection contains explanations of a variety of archaeological techniques, such as metal detection, GIS mapping, ground penetrating radar, LIDAR, academic programs, bottles identification, curation of artifacts, laws regarding archaeology and preservation, graves and cemeteries (historic trail related), pedestrian surveys, indigenous archaeology, and more.

OCTA’s mission is to protect the legacy of historic emigrant trails by promoting research, education, preservation, public awareness, and collaboration. A collection of archaeological articles should further promote OCTA’s mission. OCTA would like to acknowledge Mary Conrad, an avocational archaeologist, for her proposed vision to make this online collection a reality.

OCTA would like to highlight the following professional archaeology organization as a must have resource:          Society of Historical Archaeologists, URL link


Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) is a non-profit educational organization, and as such, are allowed to use a copy of the content for educational purposes per the provisions under Title 17, section 107-Fair Use Act of US Copyright Law. The content of this site is for personal, educational, noncommercial use only. Some content is protected by third party rights who have granted their permission for their materials to be included on this site. OCTA endeavors to provide information that it possesses about the copyright status of the content and to identify any other terms and conditions that may apply to use of the content. When publishing or citing any of the content, you must include a reference to the original. Those wishing to publish, republish or make commercial use, in part or in full, of any material must contact the original publisher for permissions. OCTA makes no intellectual property claims over any material other than that from the Overland Journal and News From The Plains, publications of the Oregon-California Trails Association.

Historic Trail Archaeology: General Information

List of Trail Archaeology Topics

List of Archaeology Works at Historic Trail sites

State list of Archaeology Sites