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SDSU Archaeological Dig 2019

We have opportunities to participate in the upcoming SDSU Archaeological 2019 Dig, either as a Volunteer or Observer!

As a volunteer, you will participate in an active Archaeological Dig at Harrison Serenity Ranch, unearthing relics at the Nate Harrison site. This annual dig has been ongoing since 2004. Daily fees are $50 and includes lunch. If you wish to expand your adventure we are opening up our bunk house for overnight guests which includes 3 meals and a full day at the Dig site. Daily fees are $125/day or $500/week.


The SDSU Archaeological Dig is scheduled May 29th thru June 14th and our week begins at noon on Monday with lunch ends each Friday afternoon.


Volunteer openings are available to SDSU Anthropology students only. 



As an Observer you will bear witness to an active Archeological Dig at Harrison Serenity Ranch at the discretion of SDSU staff. There will be a schedule of times for observing available daily. If you plan on staying with us for a few days there are lots of things to explore locally such as the Palomar Mountain and Observatory, Mama's Kitchen at the top of Palomar Mountain, and several casinos nearby. Day fees are $50/day and includes lunch, overnight guest fees for our bunkhouse are $125/day or $500/week and includes all meals.


Observer openings are available to SDSU students and family members.

If you are not affiliated with SDSU we will be offering opportunities through our Airbnb site for glamp tent and cabin vacations during this time,


More about the Nate Harrison site....

Harrison Serenity Ranch is the site of ongoing archaeological excavations at the historical Nathan "Nate" Harrison site.  Harrison (1832-1920) was the region's first African-American homesteader and a local legend.  Born a slave in Kentucky, Harrison was brought west during the Gold Rush and later migrated to Southern California.  Harrison was a celebrated local pioneer who lived on Palomar Mountain from 1865-1919.  In his early years in the region, he was an active rancher.  Later in life, he became a tourist destination for early San Diegans, regaling visitors with stories of the Wild West.

San Diego State University anthropology professor Dr. Seth Mallios has led excavations on the property since 2004.  He and his team of student archaeologists have uncovered over 35,000 artifacts.  These fragments of the past offer spectacular insight into the daily life of one of the region's most interesting individuals.  The artifacts include butchered sheep bones, pottery and glass fragments, iron tools, fired rifle cartridges, rusted cans, buttons, and many other items.  Visitors to Harrison Serenity Ranch have the opportunity to observe the dig, which results in new discoveries on a daily basis.

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