Field School in Public Archaeology

Haven’t figured out what to do with your summer yet?  Can’t seem to get enough archaeology?  Archaeology in Annapolis is pleased to announce an advanced field school in public archaeology for summer session 1, 2014.  This course is geared toward students who have already completed some training in archaeological field methods and want to work more closely with members of the public to construct meaningful interpretations of the past.

James Madison's mansion

James Madison’s mansion. Source: Montpelier Foundation

From June 2-June 21, we will be at Montpelier, James Madison’s home in Orange County, Virginia.  Tying in with excavations ongoing since the 1980s, this year’s excavation will explore the impacts of Emancipation on the African American community in Orange County.  The excavation will take place at the site of a late antebellum slave quarter that may have been reoccupied following the end of the Civil War.  This presents archaeologists with a unique opportunity to understand the effects of Emancipation at both the household and the community levels through the comparison of this site with other late antebellum and reconstruction era African American sites that have been excavated on the property.

Open house at The Hill, 2012

Open house at The Hill, 2012. Source: Tim Poly

From June 23-July 11, the course will move to the town of Easton, Maryland.  In an Easton neighborhood known as The Hill, free African Americans since the late eighteenth century have lived and worked.  The neighborhood has been the focus of community-building efforts since the time of slavery.  Yet, today, the community’s social fabric is threatened by gentrification.  At the request of community members, archaeology is part of an interdisciplinary project aimed at using conversations about the past to bring people together to value The Hill Community, its contributions to the Town of Easton, and its ongoing existence.  This project works with community members to identify goals for community development and to use archaeology to meet those goals.  This summer, we will be excavating on a site purchased by local free man Perry Sprouse in 1827.  It sits immediately adjacent to Bethel Church, the oldest AME church on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Open house at The Hill, 2012

Open house at The Hill, 2012. Source: Tim Poly


The field school will meet daily, Monday-Friday for six weeks.  Students are responsible for reporting to the site each day and contributing to the field work, laboratory work, and reading discussions.  Students will complete weekly reading assignments that address the methods and theories in public archaeology and will discuss those readings and their relevance to Montpelier and The Hill.  Students will lead site tours and participate in a discussion with community members about archaeology and our findings in order to apply what they have learned about public archaeology.  Writing assignments will include blog entries and short essays that integrate the readings with their experiences.

 We have arranged free on-site housing at both Montpelier and The Hill.


To register, you may sign up for one or both sections of the course:

Montpelier ANTH 498Y-section XI31 Undergraduates
ANTH 688Y-section XI31 Graduates
Easton ANTH 498Y-section XI51 Undergraduates
ANTH 688Y-section XI51 Graduates

 All students will receive in-state tuition.  Students from outside the University of Maryland, College Park, must be formally admitted to UMCP for the summer session.  Applications can be found at


For more information, contact

Stefan Woehlke:

Tracy H. Jenkins:


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