Nicole Kilburn

Faculty/staff profile

Program Leader, Archaeology Field Assistant Instructor, Anthropology

Nicole Kilburn



Young Building

Y 212A

MA Anthropology

Anthropology, Archaeological Field Assistant, Indigenous Studies

School of Arts and Science

I have been involved in the AFA program’s development and delivery since its inception in 2008. I received a Bachelor's degree in anthropology from UBC (1996) and completed a Masters degree in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Colorado, Boulder (2001). Much of the education that I find most relevant to the work I do today began in the context of consulting archaeology, when I worked for a large archaeology and environmental consulting company (SWCA) on a variety of projects in New Mexico and Arizona. Over the 5 years that I worked for SWCA I was both a teacher and a learner; I taught new archaeologists how to do fieldwork effectively and efficiently, but I also interacted with many Indigenous community members that helped me question definitions of heritage and “cultural resource management” and the value of heritage to Indigenous communities. This influenced the development of my archaeological approaches when I started teaching at Camosun in 2002, and I continue to value the guidance and learning that comes from the collaborations with Indigenous communities and colleagues where I have the privilege to work.

As program leader for the Archaeology Field Assistant Program, I am proud of the projects completed in this program that offer profound applied learning opportunities for students in partnership with local communities. Together we have developed the objectives and methodologies of short survey projects that allow students to practice their skills and contribute to archaeological knowledge deemed important to these communities. This has included completing many surveys of sensitive cultural spaces where people have lived and managed relationships with the landscape forever.

In addition to facilitating the Archaeology Field Assistant Program, I teach a variety of anthropology courses at Camosun College, increasingly with applied and Indigenized components. I have taught in the Indigenous Studies Program for over 20 years, which has created opportunities to learn alongside Indigenous colleagues and work on projects like the college’s annual pit cook day of learning. My interests in food anthropology have led to food sovereignty projects with knowledge holders from various communities on the South Island. My emphasis on applied learning has been a catalyst for various student archaeology projects over the years, including working with Nuu chal nulth carver Hjalmer Wenstob to experiment with replicated woodworking tools and co-facilitating learning around hot rock cooking technology with Jared Qwustenuxan Williams from the Cowichan Nation.


Lansdowne campus