Fort Massachusetts field school

This listing expired on July 31, 2019. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Fort Garland, CO, US

Season: June 17, 2019 to July 24, 2019

Session Dates: 6/17-6/26 7/1-7/10 7/15-7/24 Students must stay for all three sessions

Application Deadline: June 10, 2019


Program Type:
Field school, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

HAPPSS Department, Adams State University

Project Director:
Richard A. Goddard, Ph.D., RPA

Project Description:

Fort Massachusetts is the first US military fort in Colorado (1852-1858).  It was occupied approximately half way between the War With Mexico and the Civil War.  During this period the army was undergoing major changes in organization, weapons, uniforms, and types of units.  Many of these changes are poorly documented except in the archaeological record.  The fort was occupied by two companies of soldiers plus a number of women and children.  A numer of people prominent in history visited the fort such as Kit Carson and Tom Tobin.

In 1858 the garrison was moved 6 miles south to Fort Garland.  By 1920 all surface traces of the fort were gone and its location was lost.  It was briefly rediscovered in the 1960s but again forgotten.  We have been working on the fort since 2010 and this will be our last season on this site.

We teach the full range of excavation techniques from traditional to high tech as applicable.  We also help the students begin to see the site through the eyes of a 19th century occupant through the use of historical reenactors and a number of period activities such as flag ceremonies, cannon firing, and a Victorian ball.

Period(s) of Occupation: 19th Century, 1852-1858

The on-site and surrounding environment has not changed since occupation. Volunteers and Students camp a few hundred yards from the site.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: No minimum for volunteers

Minimum Age: 16

Experience Required: No experience required

Room and Board Arrangements:
Participants provide their own camping gear and food.  Kitchen facilities with refrigerators are provided.  Bathrooms with flush toilets are available, Water is provided.  Showers (unheated) are available.  Swiming hole available. Limited electrical service available.  Some RVs can be accomodated, but with no hookups. Cost: $800 covers tuition for all 6 credits. No charge for volunteers, but slots are limmited

Academic Credit:
6 credits, graduate or undergraduate credits offered by Adams State University. Tuition is $800 total, .

Contact Information:

Richard A Goddard

11874 Willow Street




United States

Phone: 7195882276

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