Welcome to the Terevaka Archaeological Outreach Program (TAO)


The TAO program began in 2003 on Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) as a grassroots approach to education, conservation, and research on the island. Island high school students, along with interns from the U.S., have now completed projects in archaeological survey, surface mapping, lichenometry, documentary filmmaking, photogrammetry, toponymy, ghost stories, and archival museum studies.

The program has three primary purposes:

(1) To offer experiential learning opportunities specific to cultural and natural resources that surround the local community;

(2) To promote awareness and expertise in conservation measures and sustainable development; and

(3) To document and study both cultural phenomena of the past and today.

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Shepardson is an archaeologist specializing in educational outreach, heritage management, geographic information systems, quantitative research, and emergent complexity. He's worked on Easter Island and various other Pacific Islands since 2000. He is a Lecturer at NAU as well as the Founder and Director of Terevaka Archaeological Outreach.

Get Involved!

The project includes both volunteer and for-credit opportunities for undergraduate students as well as graduate students.


Research takes place both at NAU and on Easter Island, Chile.


Student participation is normally offered from the last week of June until late July (4 weeks). On campus research opportunities are available in both Fall and Spring semesters.



Terevaka Archaeological Outreach Website

Terevaka Archaeological Outreach Facebook Page 


TAO collaborates regularly with explora hotel, the Easter Island Foundation, Mt. Holyoke College, and the Padre Sebastian Englert Anthropological Musuem.


TAO operates as a US non-profit 501(c)(3) with support from explora hotel and many generous individual donations.