Field School | Anthropology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

excavations in 2009

Field School

Archaeology Field School (ANTH 496)

A 6-week summer field course conducted in Southern Illinois

Summer 2024; starts Monday, May 20; ends Friday, June 28, 2024

The SIU field school will return to the Ft. Kaskaskia sites this coming summer (2024). At Ft. Kaskaskia last year we unexpectedly discovered there were TWO Ft. Kaskaskias, a French colonial (1759-1765) fort and the remains of an American (1802-1807) fort visited by Lewis and Clark in 1803 located 300 m to the north. The existence of the American fort had been unknown before last year's field school. 

Introduction and General Information

About the course...

Anthropology 496: Archaeology Field School has been taught since 1970. We encourage our own majors to take this class, and we welcome both students in related majors at SIU Carbondale and students from other institutions. The instructional staff comprises one full-time faculty member or senior doctoral student and two graduate teaching assistants.

...its purpose...

The Archaeology Field School offers full-time instruction in archaeological field methods with a special emphasis on basic excavation and laboratory techniques. Students are selected to participate in the program based on their previous coursework and fieldwork and general interest in archaeology.

Why take a course in archaeological field techniques?

  • Job opportunities - field school + a degree in anthropology or a related field = employability as an archaeologist straight out of college!
  • Earn 6 400-level credits with NO on-campus fees - it is really inexpensive.
  • Out-of-state students pay in-state tuition rates.
  • Totally hands-on learning experience.
  • No exams / No required readings.
  • No prerequisites (yes YOU can do a field school!)
  • You get to play in the dirt all day!
  • Get a great tan and a great workout.
  • Archaeology is fun fun fun!!!

troweling a floor

What are the prerequisites?

There are no specific prerequisites, but an introductory course in anthropology is recommended, and additional coursework in archaeology is helpful prior to taking the field school. Permission of Anthropology is required to register, which is attained by completing and submitting the Application Form.


Estimated costs of the 2024 field school course are listed below. We do not expect additional increases, but this web page will be updated immediately should they occur. The cost of mandatory medical insurance has NOT been included in these figures. 

2024 Basic Costs
Tuition & fees (paid to SIU Bursar) *$1,927.50
    Course Fee $50.00
Total Estimated Basic Costs **$1,977.50
Notes concerning costs:
*Tuition shown is the current rate for 6 credit hours, at the undergraduate off-campus rate, which is the same for Illinois residents and non-residents. Existing SIU Carbondale students may pay a lower tuition depending on the year they enrolled here.
**The total basic costs estimate does NOT include the price of mandatory medical insurance (we don’t care how you get it but require you to have it), personal items students may bring, meals, or lodging.

Students Enrolled at Other Institutions

The SIU Carbondale field school welcomes students from other colleges and universities. The tuition and other costs are the same as for existing SIU Carbondale students. To register for our course a non-SIU Carbondale student must be admitted to SIU Carbondale for the summer term. Undergraduates: Please print and fill out this application form, then mail it to Dr. Mark Wagner at the address shown below. Parts that do not need to be filled out have been covered in gray rectangles, and a few entries have been pre-filled to ensure correct processing. There is a $40.00 application fee. Along with the application you will need to send a copy of your transcript (a photocopy of your transcript will be ok, it does not need to be an original). Graduates: If you wish to transfer the credit hours back to your graduate program you should fill out this form and mail it to Dr. Mark Wagner at the address shown below. You will be billed for graduate tuition, which is roughly 30% higher than the amount shown above. If you do not wish to transfer the credit hours, you can apply as an "undergraduate" and pay the undergrad tuition rate shown above.

conducting magnetometry

Field School Schedule

May 20—June 28. Investigations at Ft. Kaskaskia, instruction in analysis and curation methods at CAI curation center in Carbondale.

How to apply for a spot in the field school

To apply for a spot in the field school please fill out and send us, by May 15, the Archaeology Field School Application (this form is for Anthropology use; it is distinct from the SIU Carbondale application form described above that non-SIU Carbondale students must fill out).  

[If you need Adobe Acrobat, you can download a free copy here. If you don't have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, you can download the shareware PDFCreator in order to save the application to your computer.]

If you are not an anthropology major at SIU Carbondale, you will need to have a Faculty member e-mail or mail a brief letter of reference to Dr. Mark Wagner (address below).

We can also answer any additional questions.

Address inquiries to:

Dr. Mark J. Wagner
Center for Archaeological Investigations
Faner Hall, Mail Code 4527
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois 62901-4324
Phone: 618-453-5031
FAX: 618-453-8467

Course-related Web sites that you may wish to consult...