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Archaeology at the Burke

Archaeology is the scientific study of how people lived in the past through the objects they left behind. The Burke Museum Archaeology Collections include more than one million objects from around the world, although our research and exhibits focus on cultural materials from the Pacific Rim (the area surrounding the Pacific Ocean and the islands within).

We are best known for our collections of artifacts from the Lower Columbia River and the Puget Sound Region of Washington State. Many of our collections are held in-trust for public agencies to better promote their use for scientific study.

Use the menu to the left to learn more about Archaeology at the Burke and check in regularly with our special features and news items below to keep up with what is new in our department.

Featured in Archaeology

4Culture Heritage Collections Care

We received funding through 4Culture to rehabilitate and make available a post-contact era archaeological collection.


Learn more about the Biderbost Site and what you can do to preserve ancient basketry.

Summer Research Fellowship

The Burke Museum Archaeology Research Collections Fellowship (BMARCF) is available to both graduate and undergraduate students.

Artifact Identification

Do you have an artifact you would like identified?
The Burke Museum Archaeology Division Staff are happy to help!

Research in Southeast Asia

Learn how this research is finding links between warfare, trade, and climate change in this island nation.

Archaeology Web Exhibits


Explore Seattle's dramatically changing landscapes in this compelling web exhibit.

Re-discovering Ancient Basketry

The Biderbost baskets began their lives nearly 2,000 years ago near the Snoqualmie River. Follow their story here.

The Archaeology of Seattle’s West Point

This award-winning Web exhibit tells the story of a remarkable archaeological find and the people who lived in Seattle's Discovery Park 4,000 years ago.

Kennewick Man

Find out what has been learned from the remains popularly known as "Kennewick Man" and find links to resources.

Salish Bounty

Explore traditional Native American Foods of Puget Sound and how food is the essence of culture.