Archaeological Field School Course Archive

This page is where I will post a web-appropriate version of my archaeological field school course page, normally kept in Blackboard. I will post links to pieces which are copyrighted rather than copies. I tend to amass many extra,useful resources for my students in addition to their required reading so I’m reproducing it here so those lists don’t disappear with the course page!

Obviously, this will be under construction for a bit.


Course Schedule

  • Week 1: Introduction to archaeological research methods
    • Day 1: Read syllabus, Build your field kit
      • Lessons:
        • Artifact classification
        • Observation & artifact function
        • Material identification
    • Day 2: Read Hester et al. (pages 1-4, 5-20, 21-40)
      • Lessons:
        • Site tour
        • Setting out shovel tests using a tape measure
        • How and when to do shovel tests (Phase 1 NHPA Section 106 survey)
    • Day 3: Read the student handbook, especially information on the Campville Boland site
      • Lesson: Basic social media practices for safety and preservation
      • Setting out excavation units using the total station (for Phase 2/3 NHPA style of excavation)
    • Day 4: Read Hester et al. (69-101, 113-137)



  • Week 3: Prehistory of the Susquehanna River valley, Stratigraphy in depth
    • Lessons:
      • Basics of soil science and stratigraphic abbreviations
      • Harris Matrix basics
    • Reading on prehistory of this region:
      • Versaggi 2000 “An overview of prehistoric settlement patterns and landforms in the northeast (8,000 BC – AD 800) with a focus on the northern appalachians”
      • Talk by Dr. Nina Versaggi summarizing local prehistoric archaeology
    • Reading on stratigraphy in depth: Hester et al. (pages 235-246)



  • Week 5: Specializations
    • Lessons:
      • What is a scholarly article? How does academic publishing work?
      • Crafting a specialization (and core skills for all)
    • In class, you will each pick a specialty to explore and report back on to the group. I will assign you two scholarly articles based on the specialty you choose.
    • Most archaeologists have a methodological, geographic, and temporal specialty. For example, I am a digital public archaeologist (both digital and public archaeology, and the combo) and I work primarily in the early colonization period of the Northeast United States. This week is meant for you to be able to explore your interests in specializing in a particular method, geography, or time period you might like to work in.
    • I will identify and assign you two scholarly, peer-reviewed pieces on the topic you chose and you will bring notes from your reading so you can tell the class what you found about that specialization for about 5-10 minutes. I will provide you prompts to guide your brief presentation. This is an informal presentation and will take place in the field unless we have a rain day.
    • Prompts for specialization mini-presentation (5 minutes):
      • What are the boundaries of this specialization? (Is it a time period? Region? Method? Theoretical orientation? Define it briefly based on what you know so far.)
      • Please describe in a few sentences each of the articles you read.
      • Can you identify a few key researchers and what positions they hold currently?
      • Do you still consider this subfield a potential direction for your career, and why?



Field references


Floating lessons

  • Archaeological sampling strategies (created by Dr. Siobhan Hart)
  • Ceramic terminology and observation (adapted from Dr. Siobhan Hart)
  • Flintknapping demonstration (by Dr. Sebastien Lacombe)
  • Zooarchaeology (by Daniel Seib)
  • Importing and georeferencing arbitrary coordinates to ArcGIS (by Kate)
  • Garbology (adapted from Dr. Fumi Arakawa)
  • Section 106 review (by Kate)
  • National Graves Protection and Repatriation Act review (by Kate)
  • Reading USGS quad maps (by Kate)
  • Archaeology mini-book for kids using Fossil Hunter Lottie (by Kate)


Cemetery documentation & mapping references


Basic digital archaeology tools and GIS