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Anthropology Department

Wyoming's First Peoples

The University of Wyoming 2019

Archaeology Field School

June 10 - July 17

We will be at Red Buttes and the La Prele Mammoth site this year.
           2019 UW Field School Flyer
The University of Wyoming Archaeological Fieldschool provides professional-level training in field research methods at two Wyoming locations.  Learn to recognize and identify chipped stone tools and debris, ceramic sherds, faunal remains, fire-cracked rock, stone circles and fire hearths; collect sediment, radiocarbon, and flotation samples; read stratigraphic profiles; excavate; record data; read maps; use a GPS; conduct surface survey; fill out site forms -- all the basics of archaeological fieldwork.  You will learn how to use field technology, such as total stations. This year's fieldschool continues the 2014-17 fieldwork at the La Prele Mammoth site in Converse County, Wyoming where students will learn careful excavation methods, screening, and mapping with a total station. The first session will take place near Laramie where students will work on both prehistoric and historic archaeology associated with artesian springs.  There, students will learn survey, mapping, augering, and test excavation methods.  The fieldschool includes a range of experiences - and at beautiful Wyoming locations. 


All students will live in a fieldcamp, and must provide their own basic camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, etc.; the fieldschool provides all kitchen and excavation gear).  All students will assist in regular camp chores (cooking, cleaning up, etc.). The work is physically demanding, and takes place regardless of Wyoming's fickle weather (which can include rain, snow and/or freezing temperatures even in summer). Students should be in good physical shape, ready to hike steep mountains under arid conditions at elevations over 5280 feet, and prepared to eat and live in remote locations away from town, Internet access and cell phone connections.

We teach the fieldschool in three 10-day sessions, separated by two, four-day intervals.  Students are responsible for themselves during those four days.  A 6-credit, 30-day fieldschool is the minimal accepted standard to qualify for entry-level employment on research or Cultural Resource Management projects. Credit from the University of Wyoming fieldschool should be transferable to any academic institution and fulfill the fieldschool requirement of any CRM company.

We can accept about 12 students for the fieldschool, and welcome applications from students at any educational level or from any background.  We do, however, give preference to those students majoring in anthropology, who seek a career in archaeology and who have taken at least one archaeology course. The fieldschool is a good place to discover if a career in archaeology is the right place for you.


Note: we will leave for the first field camp early on June 10 from the Anthropology Building at the University of Wyoming.  Non-UW students should plan to arrive in Laramie no later than June 9. We can assist with locating a place to stay with one of the UW fieldschool students.

Three Main Field School Sessions (2 credit hours each for a total of 6 credit hours)

Please fill out an Application Form and forward it to Field School Director Dr. Todd Surovell: Once decisions are made, we will forward the information needed for Admission to UW and for Registration for the Field School

Print Application (MS Word)   Application (pdf)

Field School Sessions:

Field School Session 1 (June 10 - 19)  Survey and Testing at Red Buttes

During session 1 we will be about ten miles south of Laramie on the university's Red Butte property where a series of artesian springs bring water to the surface.  Historic and prehistoric archaeology are present on the property, which remains unstudied by archaeologists.  Here we will be recording surface and subsurface archaeology to determine the age and nature of human occupation at the site.  Fieldwork will focus on both the prehistoric component and archaeology associated with an early 20th century homestead.

Field School Sessions 2 and 3 (June 24  - July 3 & July 8 - 17) – Excavations at the La Prele Mammoth site

During these sessions, students will have the rare opportunity to work on one of Wyoming's oldest archaeological sites.  The La Prele Mammoth site is nearly 13,000 years.  It is a place where humans killed a subadult Columbian mammoth and set up camp to butcher it. Here students will learn careful excavation methods, water screening, and mapping with a total station.  

Course Instructors:

Dr. Todd Surovell, UW Faculty Archaeologist

Dr. Surovell has more than 25 years of experience in archaeology, excavating in western North America, Europe, and Asia. He is an expert in Paleoindian archaeology, geoarchaeology, and lithic technology.

Dr. Jason Toohey, UW Faculty Archaeologist

Dr. Toohey is an anthropological archaeologist who is dedicated to taking a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to the field. He has conducted fieldwork in California, Baja California Sur (MX), and Peru. His current research focuses on the Cajamarca region of the northern Peruvian Andes where he has conducted fieldwork since 2003.

Dr. Alexandra Kelly, UW Faculty Archaeologist

Dr. Kelly is a historical archaeologist who has engaged in archaeological research (excavation, survey and artifact analysis) in Kenya and Tanzania as well as in the American Southwest. She has worked extensively with object assemblages in East Africa, England and the U.S., with a focus on material culture studies, colonialism, exchange and critical heritage studies.


Tuition and Fees

As in previous years, we hope to offer In-State Resident Tuition rates to out-of-state students. 

Undergraduate Field School Tuition (in-state rates):  $134/credit hour (Graduate tuition: $261/credit hour);  plus fees ($26.95/credit hr, $6/credit hour advising fee, $9/credit hour program fees) = $1223.24.*

Undergraduate/graduate fees (to cover equipment, food, transportation): $350/credit hour = $2100

Total cost, 6 credit hours**:  Undergraduate: $3155.70 (tuition and fees).  Graduate: $3917.70

(* non-UW Students, add $40 to the above totals for the UW Admissions Fee; **costs estimated as of January 2019)

Contact Us

Anthropology Department

12th and Lewis Streets

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307 766-5136


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