UB Anthropology Field School

During the summer session, UB Anthropology offers an exciting, hands-on 6-week field school experience at sites in western New York.

APY 338/538: Field Research Archaeology

Credit: 6.0 Hours

Led by Dr. Douglas Perrelli, the field school provides an intensive and rewarding archaeological field and lab experience for undergraduate and graduate students interested in archaeology as an academic major, and as a career option in the field of Cultural Resource Management (CRM). Field school is geared towards students with interests in North American Archaeology or related fields including history, geology, geography, soil science and the natural sciences.

The goal is to introduce students to the techniques of archaeological site location, artifact identification, excavation, mapping, and material analysis in a fun but rigorous academic and applied setting. Students will learn

  1. To locate archaeological sites in a variety of settings,
  2. Methods of excavating sites in a stepwise fashion using New York State standards,
  3. Best practices for documenting the archaeological materials recovered in the field,
  4. Lab processing and classification of artifacts and materials,
  5. How to identify and analyze a sample of pre-contact and historic period artifacts,
  6. How to present information about sites in written and cartographic formats,
  7. How artifacts and information are stored and managed in a museum setting.

The UB Anthropology Field School welcomes all UB and non-UB students to take part.

Site Locations

Location 1

Phase 1 and 2 Instruction
Spaulding Green Site 21 and 22
Town of Clarence, Erie County, NY

Location 2

Location 2
Phase 2 and 3 Instruction
STAMP Project Area
Town of Alabama, Genesee County, NY

Transportation will be provided each day to the field site locations.

Typical Field Day

The field school runs Monday to Friday for the 6-week session.

A typical day will begin at 9:00AM with a short team meeting with the Laboratory Director to address the day’s goals, assign tasks, and answer any questions about the laboratory methodology or paperwork and readings. 

Students will notice an emphasis on fieldwork, but must understand that we need to record, process and report on what we find. Students may be broken up into smaller groups to divide the lab work and provide a variety of student experiences including artifact processing and analysis, flint-knapping, record keeping and clerical work relating to site documentation, historic research, textbook and article reading, and the development of project proposals and budgets common to CRM archaeology. 

Indoor classes will typically include a formal lecture or presentation of some kind.

Students will end the day by 4:00PM.

Required Materials

1.       Textbook

Burke, H., C. Smith, and L. Zimmerman (2009) The Archaeologist’s Field Handbook. North American Edition. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.: New York.

2.       Daily journal (composition book)

3.       Pencils with erasers

4.       Marshalltown trowel

5.       Compass with mirror

6.       Water bottle

7.       Sensible shoes, preferably good digging boots

8.       Sensible clothing

9.       Portable lunch on field days

Course Calendar

Week 1: Topics

Course introduction; NYS regulations and Cultural Resource Management; landscape navigation, orienteering, mapping, site survey; location and field documentation; basic excavation skills; GPS mapping.

Week 2: Topics

Artifact classification, identification and analysis; stone tools and flint-knapping; ceramic analysis.

Week 3: Topics

Culture resource, cultural heritage and museum management; artifact and information storage; Indian Tribes and Nations in New York and beyond.

Week 4: Topics

Presenting the Evidence; mapping and reporting for clients and academia.

Week 5: Topics

Flotation; maps and map making.

Week 6: Topics

Project clean-up.

Field School Registration

If you are a current UB undergraduate student, please register for the course using your Student HUB.

Visiting students may register for the field school (APY 338) through the UB This Summer program.