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The Yama Project

Archaeology Field School of Olympic College

Registration for the summer Archaeology Field School (Item #3013) starts May 30. Contact us today to learn more

Join the Field School - Registration starts May 30!

  • The Olympic College Archaeology Field School is designed to teach students the methods, techniques, and theories of applied archaeology. Over the eight week summer quarter, students will develop the skills of survey, excavation, laboratory analysis, historical and document research, public outreach, community involvement, and publication. Please contact Floyd Aranyosi for further information.

History of Yama, Bainbridge Island

  • In the 1880’s, the booming Port Blakely Mill on Bainbridge Island prompted the settlement of Japanese immigrants, founding the settlement of Nagaya. In the 1890’s, married workers and residents were able to bring their families over, leading to the creation of Yama village. The community grew over the years to house approximately 300 residents. The bustling village was home to the Washington Hotel and Takayoshi’s Store, Tea Room, and Photo Studio. Yama was also home to a Community Center and a Baptist Mission. Monks from Seattle would visit the Community Center which functioned as a temple. The Yama children would also come together at the Center to learn Japanese language and culture. With the closure of the mill in the 1920’s, Yama was eventually abandoned. Some residents remained on Bainbridge Island, and others left to settle elsewhere. The village businesses and homes were dismantled, the site became overgrown, and there was little left to see of this once thriving community.

Archaeology of Yama, Bainbridge Island

  • After initial surveys over the last 20 years revealed artifact preservation on the archaeological site, Olympic College worked with Bainbridge Island Historical Museum to create the Yama Project. Together the goal was to lead survey, mapping, and eventual partial excavation of the site.  The site was nominated for National Register of Historic Places in 2014, and the Olympic College Archaeology Field School was created in 2015. A partnership was formed with a number of community organizations to bring forth the story of Yama and its residents. As nearly a century of underbrush was cleared away in 2015, Yama was revealed. Though no standing buildings remain, evidence of the people’s daily lives began to emerge. Students who participate in the Olympic College Archaeology Field School will learn the principles of site survey, proper recording of provenience, artifact recovery, laboratory analysis, and cataloging. The Olympic College Archaeology Field School is a unique opportunity for students and community alike to learn about the rich local history of Japanese American culture.
Yama Archaeological Site Collage With Two Porcelain Artifacts


  • During the course of the field school, volunteers will be invited to the site. Involvement can range from working half to full days alongside students and crew in the field and lab. Space will be limited and scheduled. Please contact Floyd Aranyosi for further information and scheduling. 


  • Donations can be made to the Yama Project via the OC Foundation.

Season One - July/August 2015:

  • The initial field season focused on site mapping, surface survey, and feature analysis. Over 2500 artifacts were collected and multiple features discovered within approximately a dozen of the 60 quadrants. 


Season Two - July/August 2016:

  •  The second field season will expand upon surface survey, feature analysis, and limited excavation. 


Season Three - July/August 2017: 

  • The third field season will continue surface survey, feature analysis, and further excavation. 

Dr. Caroline Hartse - Project Manager 

Caroline is the Project Manager for the Yama Project. She is a cultural anthropologist who earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 1993, and has been faculty at OC since 1994.   Her research interests include cultural change, anthropology of religion, communitarian societies, and psychological anthropology.  

Floyd Aranyosi - Principal Investigator and Field Director

 Floyd has been a professional archaeologist since 1993, and has worked on historic sites in coastal California, the High Sierras, and the Mississippi River valley, and on prehistoric sites in the Sierras, the Republic of Ireland, and the province of Northern Ireland. He has been teaching anthropology since 1994, and has been a member of the OC Adjunct Faculty since 2001. 

David R. Davis - Lab Supervisor

David is currently a research fellow, teaching assistant, and Master of Science candidate in Central Washington University's Cultural and Environmental Resource Management Program. He completed the CWU Archaeological Field School at Mt. Rainier, Washington in 2013. His interests include Pacific Northwest Coast and Plateau archaeology, burial site preservation, mountain archaeology, anthropology of religion, and American folklore and mythology.  David has worked on and recorded multiple prehistoric sites on the Columbia Plateau.

Jean Hannah - Field Supervisor

Jean returns this summer for her 3rd year working with the Yama Project.  She completed the Olympic College Yama Project Field School in 2015 and returned in 2016 as a Field Supervisor.  Her interests also extend to Museum Collections and Registrar work. She completed her University of Washington Museum Studies Certification this spring. She currently volunteers at the Suzzallo Special Collections Library, Visual Materials Department, at the University of Washington.  

Ashley Garrett - Field Supervisor

Ashley graduated from Folsom Lake Junior College in the spring of 2015 with an AA in "Interdisciplinary Studies" in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. She currently is a student at the University of California - Santa Cruz, UCSC, and will graduate June 17, 2017 with a Bachelors in Anthropology, with a heavy focus on Archaeology. In the spring of 2016, she attended an Archaeology Field Methods course for 3 months, excavating at the Cowell Lime Works located on the UCSC campus grounds. During the summer 2016 season, she was a student of the Yama project and has currently been involved in an independent student internship at UCSC doing artifact cataloging of the Cowell Lime Works project from the last 2 years (60 hours of lab work during the winter quarter, January-March, and will have an additional 60 hours completed by the end of May for a total of 120 hours of lab experience). She plans to work in the field of CRM for at least a year before continuing school. Her interests include archaeology of the Pacific Northwest Coast, cultural heritage preservation, and the joy of field work in general. 

Etsuko Evans - Research Assistant

Etsuko graduated from the University of Japan in Tokyo, earning a degree in teaching. Etsuko's passion is to help others learn, especially about Japanese culture and society. She joined Olympic College over five years ago as a Japanese instructor and tutor, and is currently taking courses at Olympic College to help advance her professional communication skills. Notable awards include receiving a Certificate of Recognition in 2010, as well as Dean's Scholar and President's Scholar awards. She enjoys teaching and dreams of becoming a teacher again.

Men in Yama at Takayoshi's Photo Studio - Historic Photo Courtesy Bainbridge Island Historical Museum