2024 Wyoming Field School


2024 Wyoming Field School Flyer

Application Form

The University of Wyoming Archaeological Field school provides professional-level training in field research methods at three Wyoming locations.  Learn to recognize and identify chipped stone tools and debris, ceramic sherds, historical artifacts, 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 season's first session will be at Willow Springs, a High Plains trading hub just south of Laramie, Wyoming. Efforts there will focus on survey and mapping. The second session continues 2014-23 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 third and final session will be at Carbon City, the location of Wyoming's first coal mining town along the former route of Union Pacific Railroad (in Carbon County). The town was founded in 1868 and abandoned in the early 20th century. We will be continuing fieldwork started in 2021, which will involve mapping and excavation. The field school includes a range of experiences - and at beautiful Wyoming locations. 

 All students will live in a field camp and must provide their own basic camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, etc.; the field school 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 field school 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 field school is the minimal accepted standard to qualify for entry-level employment on research or Cultural Resource Management projects. Credit from the University of Wyoming field school should be transferable to any academic institution and fulfill the field school requirement of any CRM company.We can accept about 15 students for the field school, 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 field school is a good place to discover if a career in archaeology is the right place for you.

The Anthropology Department offers multiple archaeological field schools to students with different levels of archaeological expertise so please explore our other offerings as well. 

  University of Wyoming Archaeology Field School


Note: There will be an orientation on the morning of June 10 in the Frison Anthropology Building at the University of Wyoming.  Non-UW students should plan to arrive in Laramie no later than June 9. Out of town students will have the option of staying the UW dorms for the first session. 


Please fill out an Application Form and forward it to Dr. Alexandra Kelly:  akelly13@uwyo.edu. Once decisions are made, we will forward the information needed for admission to UW and for registration for the field school. 

Application Form


Field School Session 1 (June 10- 19) -  Survey and Testing at Willow Springs, WY

Willow Springs is a rich spring site and trading nexus south of Laramie with a long history of UW archaeology (William Mulloy, George Frison, Chuck Reher, and current state archaeologist Spencer Pelton have all worked here). The site has PaleoIndian, late prehistoric, and historic occupation (and was likely the location of a Overland Trail stage station).


Field School Session 2 (June 24- July 3) – Excavations at the La Prele Mammoth site

During the second session, 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 and 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.  


Field School Session 3 (July 8 - July 17)  Mapping and Testing at Carbon City

Off the beaten track in the sagebrush steppe between Laramie and Rawlins is the former site of the town of Carbon, Wyoming.  The town was founded in 1868 along the route of the transcontinental railroad where coal from its mines was used to fuel steam engines.  We will be continuing mapping and excavation in what today is a battered ghost town in the high desert.


Course Instructors:

Dr. Alexandra Kelly, UW Faculty Archaeologist

Dr. Kelly is a historical archaeologist who has engaged in archaeological research in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) and the American West (New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming). She has worked extensively with object assemblages in East Africa, the U.K. and the U.S., with a focus on material culture studies, colonialism, exchange, and critical heritage studies.


Dr. Randy Hass, UW Faculty Archaeologist

Dr. Haas leads archaeological excavations and survey projects in the Andes Mountains of Peru and mountain regions of western North America. He primarily investigates human behavior in forager societies (aka, hunter-gatherers) of the past in order to better understand human behavior in the present. 


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.


Scholarship Support 

The Wyoming Archaeological Society offers support to students attending field school through the David Reiss Scholarship Fund.  


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

Undergraduate Field School Tuition (in-state rates):  $154/credit hour (Graduate tuition: $299/credit hour);  plus fees 15/credit hr program fees, $6/credit hour advising fee) = $1050*

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

Total cost, 6 credit hours**:  Undergraduate: $3150 (tuition and fees).  Graduate: $4020

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

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