Archaeology Field School

The Field School Experience

Learning archaeological fieldwork is an immersive experience where teamwork is essential. It takes weeks of work before a person can begin assembling the clues from each discovery into meaningful pictures of the past. As a result, students should expect the work to be exacting, often slow, and physically challenging, as one develops professional skills over time. We work eight-hour days in all conditions, five days a week throughout the six-week summer course.

Details for 2022 Field School are still forthcoming

2021 Field School

June 28 - August 12, Track B

June 28 start
Off Monday July 5th for holiday
Ends Thursday August 12 (finals on Friday)

SS 3210 Field Archaeology - 6 credits (undergraduate)
SS 5700 Archaeological Field Methods - 3 credits (graduate)

During the 2021 archaeological field school, we will be working at a series of sites in the Hiawatha National Forest near Munising. One aspect of this summer’s work will be to continue a long-term research project exploring the lives of workers in the northern woods that has focused on a series of cordwood lumber camps owned and operated by the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company. To date, we have excavated at two cordwood lumber camps (Coalwood and Roscoe) which operated from 1900-1912 and housed as many as 217 workers, many living there with their families. Our goal this summer is to begin investigating similar lumber camps that date to the 1920s so that we can begin to talk about how the lives of these workers changed over time.

Since it is not possible to commute daily from Houghton, we will be camping in the Munising area for the duration of the field school. As plans are finalized, updates will be posted here and emailed to students that have completed the Field School Application Form.


What will I learn?

Student inside an excavation square section collecting artifacts

During the Summer Field School, students will learn a wide range of archaeological field methods and gain proficiency using standard archaeological equipment and tools. Examples of what team members learn include the following:

  • consulting documents, maps, aerial photos, remote sensing data, and oral history during excavation and survey
  • use traditional and new mapping technologies, such as Global Position Systems (GPS), Total Station (EDM), and other instruments for GIS-based analysis
  • standard excavation techniques and methods
  • ethically-driven decision making about artifact collection, cleaning, identification, analyses, and conservation, considering industrial archaeological sites in particular
  • live and work collectively as part of a team to achieve our goals
  • work with volunteers to educate the public about archaeology

Current Michigan Tech Students

Michigan Tech undergraduate students can take SS 3210 Field Archaeology to complete up to 6 credits for any element of their general education degree requirements. The credits can count as either HASS (up to 6 credits) or STEM (up to 4 credits). Social Science majors (including Anthropology, History, and Social Sciences) may apply the credits to meet requirements of their degrees OR for general education. SS3210 may also be used towards completion of the Social Science minor in Historical Studies. Prior to enrolling, please confirm with your departmental academic advisor that the credits will count toward your desired degree requirements.

  • Register for the Field Archaeology course on Banweb. The undergraduate course number is SS3210, and the graduate course number is SS5700.
  • You can repeat credits for SS3210/SS5700, so you can take this course again for credit if you have already completed a field school.
  • Complete the Field School Application Form.

Domestic Undergraduate Students Enrolled in Outside Universities

To register for the Field Archaeology course as a guest student, complete the following steps:

  • Complete the Field School Application Form.
  • Visit the registrar at your home university and request a guest student application form. Using your own university's form streamlines the credit transfer process.
  • Note that you may enroll in whatever number of credit hours your institution requires. For example, some universities require their students to complete 4 credit hours of field school training. You should enroll for the number of credits appropriate to your home department’s or university's requirements.
  • You may need to take the form to your university's registrar, and they will certify your application and forward the form to Michigan Tech’s undergraduate admissions office; confirm this step with the registrar. You may be required to pay a $30 application fee. Tech’s admissions office will submit the form to the registrar’s office. If you have questions about registering for this course, email Tech’s registrar’s office or call 906-487-2319.

International Students

International students could participate on a tourist visa, since the Field Archaeology course only lasts for seven weeks.

  • Complete the Field School Application Form.
  • You should contact your home university's international studies coordinator or Michigan Tech’s International Programs and Services office.

Michigan Tech has a number of international cooperative and exchange agreements that can facilitate guest students from around the world. We encourage prospective students to email International Programs and Services for advice.