2012 Field School

ANTHR 396 A/B (Archaeological Field Methods)

May 22-June 22, 2012

The archaeological field school will be conducted in two locations—the Rangeland Research Institute (Mattheis Ranch), northwest of Brooks, Alberta, and a rich and ancient prehistoric campsite site near Lake Wabamun, west of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Dr. John W. (Jack) Ives, Professor, Department of Anthropology
Executive Director, Institute of Prairie Archaeology

With teaching assistants as well as mapping applications from Dr. Kisha Supernant, Department of Anthropology.

Course Description
This is an introductory course covering basic archaeological field methods and techniques. The three principal components of the course will concern:

  • Field survey and site assessment strategies and techniques;
  • Intensive site excavation; and
  • Lab work and cataloguing of excavated materials. 
The course consists of lectures coupled with direct experience in field and laboratory techniques, preparation of collections and their analysis, methods of ground survey, and assessment and excavation of the sites under investigation. The course will begin with field survey for sites and mapping studies at the Rangeland Research Institute northwest of Brooks, followed by intensive site excavation at a Wabamun area site with Paleoindian through historic period components. Initial lectures will cover the basic framework of northern Plains prehistory, familiarization with typical tool types, raw stone material, ceramics and faunal remains. Duties will include maintaining accurate field notes, level records and profiles. Students will be responsible for ensuring that artifacts they have collected or excavated are cleaned as appropriate, and accurately catalogued for use in subsequent analysis. Students will also become familiar with regional landforms and Quaternary history related to the site, typical soil formation processes, and site vegetation. Students will be expected to take part in basic occupational health and safety familiarization connected with access to field sites.

Information and Orientation Meetings
Information and orientation sessions will be scheduled from November 2011 through March 2012, and will be announced through the Department of Anthropology, including notices on our web page.

Accommodation & Travel
All travel costs during the field school will be covered through fees connected with the course. While working at the Rangeland Research Institute, students will need the capacity to camp for roughly 7-10 days. Our Lake Wabamun activities will involve daily travel to and from Edmonton.