by John F. Doershuk, University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist
Archaeology field schools are typically multi-week hands-on opportunities for students to learn up-to-date techniques of archaeological survey, excavation, and site recording; get experience in analysis and artifact curation; and gain skills that will serve in a wide variety of future of archaeological jobs. Although typically for students, many field schools also provide opportunities for the public to experience archaeology for themselves. Even if you're not planning on becoming an archaeologist, you can still attend a field school.
To attend an archaeological field school, you'll need stamina, clothes you don't mind getting dirty, a hat with a brim, sunscreen, and bug spray. You'll need a strong sense of adventure; a stronger sense of humor; and the ability to work hard without complaining (too much). But you might have the time of your life!
Iowa Lakeside Lab Summer Courses in Archaeology
The University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist and Iowa Lakeside Laboratory will continue on-going research efforts in the Iowa Great Lakes region, including excavations at a Woodland-era site (13DK143) within Mini-Wakan State Park adjacent to Spirit Lake, through three different summer archaeology fieldwork courses between June 10 and July 5, 2019: including 4-week, 2-week, and 1-week sessions. You can find the course description here under "Field Archaeology".
Previous Lakeside Laboratory summer archaeological field schools have investigated portions of 13DK143 but much more waits to be discovered! Under a thin veneer of historic state park materials are undisturbed deposits between 1000 and 2000 years in age. Animal bone preservation is excellent and there are large decorated pottery sherds of both the Lake Benton and Fox Lake types, stone tools and flaking debris, chopping and grinding tools, charcoal, fire-cracked rock, and potentially hearth features which will be investigated as opportunity permits.
As this is primarily a field course, excavation and mapping notes as well as recording of general observations while digging will be required. Lab processing forms will also be completed by field school participants. No formal tests or writing assignments are required beyond the field notebooks (which will include building an annotated bibliography from pertinent source materials provided by the instructor).
Participants will be introduced to the essential methods of field archaeology including artifact identification, site mapping, excavation techniques, artifact processing, and beginning analytical methods. The field school will include lectures on Iowa archaeology and the culture history sequence of western Iowa, as well as day trips to the Sanford Museum in Cherokee, Iowa and possibly the Blood Run National Historic Landmark, Jeffers Petroglyphs, or Pipestone National Monument.
You are encouraged to register and secure housing early as courses fill up on a first come-first served basis—registration is now open! Registration for Lakeside Lab courses is accepted only by completing the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory Registration and Housing Form. You can complete the form online or download a copy. Forms are processed through the Lakeside Lab administrative office, and students can elect to receive UI, ISU, or UNI credit hours. For further information, contact The University of Iowa Division of Continuing Education at DOE-REG@uiowa.edu or telephone (319) 335-2575 or 1-888-469-2338; email Lakeside questions to email@example.com.