Archaeological Field Schools: A Guide for Teaching in the Field

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The field school is often described as a “rite of passage” among archaeologists. They are considered essential for the appropriate training of students for academic or professional archaeological careers, and are perhaps the only universal experience in an increasingly diverse array of archaeological career paths. Jane Baxter’s practical guide about how to run a successful field school offers archaeologists ways to maximize the educational and training benefits of these experiences. She presents a wide range of pedagogical theories and techniques that can be used to place field schools in an educational, as well as an archaeological, context. Baxter then offers a “how to” guide for the design of field schools, including logistical, legal, and personnel issues as well as strategies for integrating research and teaching in the field. Replete with checklists, forms, and cogent examples, the author gives directors and staff a set of “best practices” for designing and implementing a school.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598740073
  • Publisher: Left Coast Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Eva Baxter is Associate Professor of Anthropology at DePaul University in Chicago. An historical archaeologist, Professor Baxter has a doctorate from the University of Michigan. She is author of numerous articles and the book Archaeology of Childhood and has directed field schools in the United States and the Bahamas

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9

Chapter 1 The Archaeological Institution of Field Schools 11

The Development of an Institution 12

How We Talk about Field Schools Today 16

About This Book 18

Part 1 Field School Teaching: Pedagogy and Practice 23

Chapter 2 Contemporary Climates: Teaching Archaeology and Field School Training 25

Cultural Resource Management Training 26

Working with the Public 33

The RPA and Field School Certification 37

Teaching as an Ethical Issue 39

Field Schools as Learning Communities 40

Lines of Convergence 42

Points of Contention 43

Chapter 3 Pedagogical Concerns and Field School Development 47

Developing Teaching Goals 48

Translating Teaching Goals into Student Learning Outcomes 51

The Idea of Experiential Learning 54

Experiential Learning and Learning Communities 60

Assessing Learning in the Field 61

Chapter 4 Structuring Experiential Learning in the Field 65

Abstract Conceptualization 66

Active Experimentation 70

Concrete Experience 74

Reflective Observation 75

Part 2 Field School Logistics 79

Chapter 5 Legal and Administrative Issues 81

Universities and Off-Site Programs 82

Site Agreements and Permissions 83

Health, Safety, and Liability 87

Liability Waivers 90


Insurance 93

University Police or Public Safety Offices 94

Contracts and Providers 94

Connect on Your Campus 96

Chapter 6 Personnel Issues 97

Defining Your Role as a Project Director and an Instructor 97

Staff and Organizational Structure 101

Graduate Student Supervisors 102

Professional Project Staff 105

Codirector or Go It Alone? 106

Health and Safety 109

Identifying Hazards at Your Site 109

Collecting PersonalInformation 111

Mitigating Risks for Students 112

Standards of Dress and Personal Appearance 114

Field Etiquette and Interpersonal Issues 115

Setting Standards of Behavior 115

Student-Generated Standards of Behavior 118

Working Together in the Field 119

Standards and Protocols for Public Interaction 121

Chapter 7 Logistical Concerns 125

Before the Program Starts 126

Finding a Site 126

Getting Equipment Together 133

Recruiting Students 139

Logistics in the Field 144

Transportation 144

Food and Lodging 145

Field Facilities 148

Special Cases 149

International Field Schools 149

Commuter Field Schools 153

Chapter 8 Balancing Teaching, Research, and Disciplinary Standards 155

Pressure Points 156

Maintaining Disciplinary Standards of Conduct 156

Field Schools as Annual "Money Makers" 157

Field Schools as the Only Research Outlets 158

Structural Suggestions for Those Seeking Balance 159

Working with Graduate Students and Undergraduates 163

Working with Graduate Students 163

Working with Undergraduate Students 165


Appendix 1 RPA Guidelines and Standards for Archaeological Field Schools 167

Appendix 2 Sample Safety Handout 173

Appendix 3 A Summary of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 177

Appendix 4 Sample Archaeological Field School Participant Information Form 179

Appendix 5 Sample Handout of What Students Should and Should Not Bring to a Field School and Should Not Bring to a Field School on a Daily Basis 181

Appendix 6 Sample Guideline Sheet for Students and the Media 183

References 185

Index 191

About the Author 192

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