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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Field School Activities

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Anthropology 480/580: Fieldwork in Archeology
May 20st to June 21nd, 2012: Summer Archeological Field School in Red Wing


In this course, you will learn proper archaeological field methods such as:

Photo: Students learning to reestablish the previously surveyed shovel test grid during the 2011 field school at the Silvernale site

  • reading a topographic map
  • sketch mapping
  • using a sighting compass
  • collecting GPS coordinate data
  • photo documentation of site condition
  • vegetation and landscape description
  • site condition assessment
  • soil description
  • pedestrian survey
  • shovel testing
    • determining required intensity
    • laying out transects
    • numbering transects
  • test excavations
    • laying out a site grid
    • laying out square/rectangular excavation units
    • hand excavation with a trowel
    • using a line level
    • filling out excavation forms, maps, and artifact bags
    • note taking/data recordation

Possible additional activities may include:

  • flotation sampling
  • initial lab methods such as cleaning, sorting, and cataloguing artifacts.
  • preparing state site forms for new and updated sites

In some cases, you may also be asked to help coordinate field activities with private landowners. You will also receive a significant amount of informal lecture on theory in archaeology and anthropology, and an introduction to the complex archaeology of the late prehistoric period in the northern Midcontinent (especially the Red Wing Locality). This is the best possible way to learn archaeology - by learning methods and theories as an integrated and bi-directional process.


Your only assignments for the field school are to:

  1. participate fully and competently in all field school activities
  2. work cooperatively with the instructor, field assistants, and other students
  3. fully document all of your activities in a field notebook, which you will turn in at the end of the field school