2014 Field School

The archaeological field school will be conducted in two locations in 2014 — the Kineslla Research Ranch, located 150 km southeast of Edmonton, and the Buffalo Lake Métis Wintering site, an extensive historic site on the shores of Buffalo Lake, east of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. There may be an additional precontact excavation component at a rich, deeply stratified site near the Métis wintering site at Buffalo Lake

Dr. Kisha Supernant, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

Teaching/Lab Assistants

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

  • Field survey and site assessment strategies and techniques;
  • Intensive site excavation of historic and (possibly) precontact materials
  • Detailed site mapping techniques using survey equipment and GPS; and
  • Lab work and cataloguing of excavated materials. 

The course consists of lectures on archaeological techniques and Alberta archaeology, followed by real-world training in diverse field techniques essential to archaeological practice in Canada. The first field component will be survey of the Kinsella Research Ranch, where students will have the opportunity to record new sites and learn the procedures of site recording and reporting. While at Kinsella, students will also engage in simulated curriculum activities from cultural resource management, including shovel testing and site significance assessment. At Buffalo Lake, students will learn detailed site mapping techniques, using Total Station and RTK GNSS technologies. Students will also engage in the excavation of a significant Métis wintering site, occupied in the 1870s by up to 800 individuals. Students will learn how to recover materials, record excavation data, identify historic objects, and perform basic laboratory procedures. Discussions are currently underway to add a precontact component as well (details to follow). In addition, students will have the chance to interact with Métis and First Nations community members, as well as other local landowners and avocational archaeologists. The excavations at Buffalo Lake are part of a larger research project run by Dr. Supernant about Métis ethnogenesis, material culture, and the cultural landscape of the Métis in the Canadian West.

Accommodation & Travel

All travel and food costs during the field school will be covered through fees connected with the course. We will camp at the Kinsella Research Ranch in the first week and will camp at Buffalo Lake during the following weeks. We will return to Edmonton on Friday evenings and return to the field on Sunday evenings. Transportation to and from Edmonton will be provided. 

Anticipated Costs

Please see the Registrar's Office webpage for information about costs: standard tuition and fees apply. There is also a mandatory instructional support fee of $1000 to cover field costs. Field equipment for excavation and survey will be provided but students are responsible for their own camping gear and field clothing. Information about what to bring will be covered in the information sessions.

Application Procedure:

All students who are interested in taking the course must fill out an application form and submit it no later than**April 04, 2014**. Students can fill out the application online and must also send a copy of their unofficial transcript and one letter of reference to kisha.supernant@ualberta.ca. There is a maximum enrolment of 15 students for this course and all students must go through the application process prior to registration. 

You can apply by filling out the Online Application Form or by downloading the PDF Version of the Application Form, filling it out and e-mailing it to kisha.supernant@ualberta.ca no later than April 04, 2014