More than 20 college students kneeled in the warm July heat, sifting through small square holes in the freshly dug ground on the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, searching for nails, ceramic remnants and other relics from the past.

Kaeli Stephens, an anthropology major from Washington State University Vancouver, said that she’s enjoyed the fact that the excavation is open to the public, where family and friends can walk up and ask questions about the work she loves doing.

“Seeing women in STEM out here is so cool,” she said. “And I love when little girls walk by and say, ‘I want to be like that when I grow up.’ ”

The crews will use the archaeology lab in the stockade to analyze their findings. After the field school the staff with the National Park Service will do a more detailed analysis and write a report on the excavation.

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The Columbian