Newport Site

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is offering two concurrent historical archaeology field schools at the site of Newport (36IN188), Pennsylvania. This field school is certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists.

May 10-June 18, 2021 (Monday through Friday)

Students with schedule conflicts can join the field school a week late with permission.

Trench 1 ExcavationNewport, located near Blairsville, Pennsylvania, was founded circa 1790 and served as an important river town until the early nineteenth century. The town included several businesses, a hotel, a post office, and a wharf. The site is now completely abandoned. This year's archaeological investigations will include shovel test pits, excavation units, geophysics, metal detecting, photogrammetry, and artifact analysis to identify the site boundaries specific structures. Students will be exposed to both traditional and high-tech techniques with the goal of preparing them for cultural resource management and academic careers.

ANTH 320/520 Archaeological Field School (6 credits)

An introduction to archaeological survey, field excavation, and laboratory processing. Required for all Archaeology Track students or graduate students without significant field experience.

ANTH 740 Advanced Archaeological Field Methods (4 credits)

Test Unit ExcavationAdvanced instruction in survey and excavation field methods and technology, with an emphasis on the application of research designs to field settings, and the logistics of supervising field projects.


Variable depending on credits and undergrad or grad level. The cost can be estimated using the Summer Tuition website. Housing may be available through the IUP Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining or can be obtained individually.


Visit the Summer Sessions website.

For additional information, contact Professor Ben Ford at

Previous Research at the Newport Village Site

Trench 2Newport is important for several reasons. It was an early trade hub in western Pennsylvania connecting the Frankstown Road to the Conemaugh River. The Frankstown Road ran east to the Juniata River, providing a link to the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, while the Conemaugh River eventually joins the Allegheny River flowing past Pittsburgh and into the Ohio River. Sitting at the juncture of the Frankstown Road and the Conemaugh River, Newport helped connect the eastern and western United States and facilitated the movement of people, materials, and goods to, from, and through what was then the frontier. As other transportation routes developed, including roads, canals, and railroads, Newport was left behind and eventually abandoned. Its short occupation at a pivotal time in western expansion, makes it an excellent site to investigate life, commerce, and industry on the American frontier.

The 2019 field school at Newport made significant discoveries about the village's layout. The archaeologists identified two roads through the village, one paved with cobbles and the other banking down the slope to a now-submerged natural stone wharf. Through test pits and excavation units, the students also identified the footprint of the store and post office building near the center of the site. The two roads and the store/post office location allow us to link historic descriptions of the town to the modern landscape. The store also produced a significant number of artifacts, including ceramics, glass, and animal bones, that show the linkages between Newport, the surrounding areas, and trade networks that stretched to the eastern United States and Britain. The field school also contributed to our understanding of how Newport served as interface between overland and river traffic by identifying what appears to be the foundation for chutes used to load iron ore from wagons onto boats. Finally, the excavations uncovered evidence of long-term occupations at the site with pre-Contact stone tools and chipping debris revered from throughout the site.

Excavations in 2021 will return to the store and post office site to explore the size and construction of this building and to better sample the artifacts associated with it. The field school will also locate the site of the town's hotel to better understand the people who traveled through the region.

2019 Archaeological Field School Students2019 Field School Students