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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Archaeological Digs

See the latest dig postings, including archaeology field schools and job opportunities, by scrolling down below. Also, see Popular Archaeology for additional information about archaeological digs.

There are archaeology field schools and research activities being conducted all over the world. Many archaeology excavations are conducted during the summer months; however, some are ongoing throughout the year, and some are being conducted even during the winter months in parts of the world where the climate is favorable. This weblog serves as a gateway to up-to-date information about current archaeological digs and archaeological job opportunities throughout the world. It also features special postings highlighting specific archaeological digs, and other links related to archaeology and archaeological digs.

Archaeological Digs Listings

Here are the best listings online with links to detailed information about archaeological digs and field school opportunities for 2012 and 2013, and see the specially featured digs by scrolling below. Return regularly, as the lists continue to expand with new opportunities:

Experience Paleoanthropology in South Africa



The Swarkrans Cave site (http://www.studyabroad.wisc.edu/programs/program.asp?program_id=246) has provided the:
·       Largest sample  (> 126 individuals) of Paranthropus robustus in the world;
·       First evidence for the co-existence of two different hominin lineages
o   Homo erectus (direct ancestor of modern humans)
o   Paranthropus robustus (extinct “cousin” of the genus Homo)
·       First and earliest evidence for controlled use of fire found anywhere  c. 1.0 million years ago;
·       First and earliest evidence of tool use with non-stone material (i.e. bone tools) c. 2.0 million years ago.
This four-week program offers you the opportunity to participate in a paleoanthropology fieldschool at the famous fossil human locality of Swartkrans, South Africa (http://swartkrans.org/). Swartkrans, a cave site approximately twenty miles from Johannesburg, is recognized as one of the world's most important archaeological and fossil localities for the study of human evolution, and is part of the “Cradle of Humankind” World Heritage Site (http://www.gauteng.net/cradleofhumankind). The site's geological deposits span millions of years and sample several important events in human evolution.
The oldest finds at the site date between 2.0 and 1.0 million years old -- a time period during which our immediate ancestor, Homo erectus, shared the landscape with the extinct ape-man species Paranthropus robustus. In addition to fossils of these species, Swartkrans also preserves an abundant archaeological record of their behavior in the form of stone and bone tools, as well as butchered animal bones. Most spectacularly, the site contains evidence of the earliest known use of fire by human ancestors, dated to about 1.0 million years old. Younger deposits at the site sample the Middle Stone Age archaeological traces of early Homo sapiens.

You will learn about these fascinating ancestors through a hands-on course that includes instruction in archaeological survey, site mapping, excavation, recording, artifact and fossil analysis (human and animal), and laboratory techniques. Fieldwork will be supplemented with occasional lectures, workshops and fossil locality tours with internationally recognized paleoanthropologists working at nearby sites.

The program is directed by Dr. Travis Pickering, Professor of Anthropology at UW-Madison. Over his seventeen years of working in South Africa, Professor Pickering has cultivated strong relationships with researchers in the area ensuring that students in this program will see original fossils and artifacts and receive site tours from the primary researchers in the field. The program is very comprehensive and expands beyond the bounds of simply excavating for four weeks at one site, including: visits to other nearby early hominin sites, such as Sterkfontein, Kromdraai, Drimolen and Malapa; visits to view important original fossils at the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, in Pretoria (
http://www.ditsong.org.za/naturalhistory.htm), and on the campus of the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg (http://www.wits.ac.za/); a three-day ecology (lots of elephants and giraffes!) and Iron Age archaeology tour of Mapungubwe National Park (http://www.sanparks.org/parks/mapungubwe/); guest lectures by leading figures in African paleoanthropology, such as Professors Ron Clarke (discoverer of the famous “Little Foot” skeleton) and Francis Thackeray (director of the Institute for Human Evolution); and shopping days at the African Craft Market in Johannesburg (http://www.gauteng.net/attractions/entry/the_african_craft_market_of_rosebank/).  The fieldschool is also privileged to stay at the n’Gomo Safari Lodge (http://www.ngomolodge.co.za/), where students live in permanent tents with flush toilets and hot showers.  The lodge is at the back of the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve (http://www.rhinolion.co.za/home), where participants will see rhinos, zebra, and lots of other African animals everyday on the way to Swartkrans.  Students will also have the opportunity to ride through the reserve on horseback and to play with baby lions and other big cats. 

To apply or for more information contact:


or:

Erica Haas-Gallo (haasgallo@studyabroad.wisc.edu; 608-261-1020)

Travis Pickering (tpickering@wisc.edu; 608-262-5818)


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

ArchaeoSpain Offers Field School Opportunities



ArchaeoSpain was created in 2001 by a group of archaeologists and educators to provide opportunities for people from all over the world to engage in scientific research at important archaeological projects in Spain and Italy. To date, nearly 500 people from 17 countries have joined our programs.

This summer we are joining Spanish crews at four excavations:

* The Celtic-Iron Age Necropolis of Pintia (Valladolid, Spain)
* The Byzantine Basilica of Son Pereto (Mallorca, Spain)
* The Amphora Graveyard of Monte Testaccio (Rome, Italy)
* The Iron Age Cemetery of Son Real (Mallorca, Spain)

We also offer two fieldschools for high school students ages 16 and 17:

* The Roman Forum of Pollentia (Mallorca, Spain)
* The Visigothic city of Recopolis (Guadalajara, Spain)

Participants at each site will be led by bilingual archaeologists to teach excavation techniques and artifact conservation. We also hold seminars and workshops, and go on excursions to nearby historical and cultural sites. No experience or Spanish is required.


For more information, please visit www.archaeospain.com or email us at programs@archaeospain.com.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Maya Research Program


The Maya Research Program is a U.S.-based non-profit organization (501c3) that sponsors archaeological and ethnographic research in Middle America. Each summer since 1992, we have sponsored archaeological fieldwork at the ancient Maya sites of Blue Creek, Nojol Nah, Xnoha, and Grey Fox in northwestern Belize. In 2013 we again offer opportunities to participate in our field program and learn about the Maya of the past and today. The Blue Creek project is open to student and non-student participants, regardless of experience. The field school is certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists and participants will receive training in archaeological field and laboratory techniques. Academic credit and scholarships are available.
We invite students and volunteers to participate in the Maya Research Program’s 22nd archaeological field season in northwestern Belize.

2013 Field Season Dates:
Session 1: Monday May 27 - Sunday June 9;
Session 2: Monday June 10 - Sunday June 23;
Session 3: Monday July 1 - Sunday July 14;
Session 4: Monday July 15 - Sunday July 28

Beginning in 2013, the Maya Research Program will offer specialized laboratory and field courses (ANTH 4399) for students and volunteers in addition to the above general archaeological field school (ANTH 4361). The specific study areas for the specialized laboratory and field courses (ANTH 4399) are:


1. Laboratory and Field Methods: Ceramic Analysis (understanding ceramic production, seriation, modal analysis, Type-Variety analysis) - C. Colleen Hanratty, limited to 5 persons per session.
2. Laboratory and Field Methods: Bioarchaeology (the study of human skeletal remains) - William T. Brown-limited to 5 persons per session.
3. Laboratory and Field Methods: Photogrammetry and 3D Digital Modeling - Bob Warden, limited to 10 persons in Session 4 only.

For additional information please contact the Maya Research Program:
http://www.mayaresearchprogram.org
Email: mrpinquiries@gmail.com
1910 East Southeast Loop 323 #296
Tyler, Texas 75701
817-831-9011


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Collegiate Journal of Anthropolgy


College students, submit your best research papers for publication before a worldwide readership in AnthroJournal, the collegiate journal of anthropolgy. Go to AnthroJournal for more information.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Programs

When we think about going on an archaeological dig, most of us perceive it as a largely adult or college student activity. But it may surprise you to know that there are many programs out there that invite youth participation. Indeed, there are programs that are specifically designed for people well below "college age". Perhaps one of the finest examples can be found with the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. It offers programs for teenagers (high school students), children and families. Using the example of ongoing site investigation in the Mesa Verde area of the American Southwest, this program gives young people at a very early age a chance to learn what it means to undertake systematic excavation and research.......and have fun at the same time. Moreover, you will see when you visit this site that it caters to ALL ages and experience levels. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

What is it like to be on a dig?

Never been on an archaeological dig? Read what others have to say about their experience:

1. Who -- me? A Volunteer on a Dig?
2. What Happens on an Archaeological Dig?
3. Digging Old Scatness

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blue Creek: Excavating an Upscale Community


When we think of the ancient Maya civilization, the monumental centers of Tikal, Palenque, Chichen Itza, and Copan usually come to mind. These, however, are only a few of the countless ancient sites, many of which, though known to exist, still lie unexcavated and unexplored. Still others are yet undiscovered, and their number is still a mystery. The jungle shrouds their secrets. The archaeologists who uncover and investigate these sites have many years of work ahead them before a complete picture of the Maya civilization, and how it mysteriously and suddenly declined, emerges.

Blue Creek

A comparatively small site in northwestern Belize promises to add an important chapter to the story. It will help answer questions about how a medium-sized community of approximately 20,000 people managed to support an unusually wealthy class of residents and a large public precinct surrounded by numerous, well-defined residential structures and agricultural components. Known as Blue Creek, scientists at this site have uncovered a large number of exotic goods, unusual for a community of this size. It is thought that its strategic location, in combination with the techniques the ancient inhabitants employed in agricultural production, defined the foundation for its wealth.


The Project

Dr. Thomas Guderjan of the Maya Research Program is leading a team of archaeologists and other professional staff to find answers to the questions surrounding the site. In 2011, the team will be returning to continue excavations.
They are calling for students and volunteers to join them for their 2011 season, which begins May 23 and runs through July 24.


The Field School

Participants will receive training in field and laboratory techniques as well as receive a "crash course" on the Maya and archaeological methodology. Accommodation is at the Blue Creek research station, which has 35 small residential cabanas, a 1500 square foot laboratory building, a main building with a dining hall, and men's and women's restrooms and showers. All meals, equipment and supplies are provided. There will be four two-week sessions. Participants are welcome to join any or all of them.



Join the Team


For the student or enthusiast of Maya archaeology, the Blue Creek experience represents one of the best field school opportunities available for this region of the world. If you are interested in becoming a part of it, you can find out more by going to
www.mayaresearchprogram.org or by emailing Dr. Guderjan at guderjan@gmail.com. The project staff has prepared an excellent, detailed Participant Guide that will tell you just about everything you would want to know as a Project student or volunteer. The Guide can be accessed at the website.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Archaeological Field Services


ADS Peatland Archaeological Field School June – July 2011

Introduction

Archaeological Development Services Ltd (ADS) are archaeological consultants to Bord na Móna (BnM), Irelands largest peat producer since 1998. During this time we have carried out fieldwalking surveys and have excavated over 200 archaeological sites in their industrial peatlands in the Irish Midlands.

The wealth and diverse nature of archaeological sites, artefacts and environmental information preserved in Irish peat bogs is unparalleled. The wooden trackways, platforms, gravel and stone roadways excavated to date have ranged from the Neolithic to Later Medieval Periods, many of which are unique to the archaeological record. With our academic partners in Reading University and Royal Holloway University of London we have facilitated hands on undergraduate training, Masters and Doctorate theses in Palaeoenvironmental research including tephrachronology, peat stratigraphy, insect analysis and the development of new geophysical survey techniques.

For 2011 we have developed a practical field-based training school providing a unique opportunity to those seeking an introduction to field archaeology. The two week field school has been developed with the aim of providing participants with practical training of the highest professional standard from experienced practising peatland archaeologists. There is also the opportunity for those who have completed the two week instruction course to participate in an additional two or four weeks excavation season.

The aim of the ADS Peatland Archaeological Field School is to provide the participant with the skills to locate, identify, record and excavate archaeological structures in Peatlands and to interpret the sites in order to gain an insight into human interaction within marginal landscapes. This information will be put into context with the surrounding archaeological monuments in the ‘dry land’ areas and provide a more detailed picture of the particular social group and their way of life.

At the end of the course Participants will:

  • An understanding of Irish archaeology
  • have knowledge and understanding of Irish Peatland Archaeology
  • be able to identify archaeological sites through field walking survey
  • be able to distinguish archaeological wood from naturally occurring wood remains
  • be able to record, excavate and interpret different Peatland sites

Field School summary course outline:

Week 1 starts with a day in the classroom where participants will learn about Irish archaeology, Irish peatlands, the history of excavations in peatlands, sites excavated to date and their local and regional contexts.

On-site training will commence on day two with training in archaeological field walking. By the end of the week students will have learnt how to identify, record and sample sites.

In week 2 participants will receive training in the excavation of a trackway where they will be shown excavation techniques, recording, completion of feature sheets, drawing, peat stratigraphy, photography and sampling.

An additional two to four weeks excavation experience is also on offer to those that have completed the two week training course. During this time participants will get the opportunity to further their skills with additional supervision as well as gaining hands on experience in palaeoenvironmental sampling.

University accreditation is pending, participants will be supplied with a certificate of satisfactory completion of the field school and additional excavation season if completed.

Dates for 2011 are as follows:

Peatland Archaeological Field School 20th June – 1st July / 4th-15th July / 18th-29th July

Additional Practical Peatland Excavation 4th – 15th July & 18th-29th July

Fees:

Fees are inclusive of accommodation which is provided on a self catering basis, transport to and from site as well as a learning pack including field manual and log book and the provision of excavation equipment for use while in attendance. The school runs Monday – Friday inclusive 9am – 4.30pm participants are free to explore the beautiful sites and scenary of the Irish Midlands at the weekends or may avail of additional guided tours of sites of interest in the local area for a small additional fee.

Peatland Archaeological Field School €1,450

Additional Practical Peatland Excavation €1,200 for two weeks / €2,000 for four weeks

Location:

Accomodation will be provided in Athlone, Co Westmeath and the Field School will be based near Ballyforan, Co Galway.

Booking

A deposit of 50% of the fee payable before 31st March 2011 will secure your booking with the balance due by 1st May 2011. Booking forms and furter details are available by emailing training@adsireland.ie or by contacting Jane Whitaker directly at 00353 866012040.

__________________________________________

ADS Introduction to Forensic Anthropology 2011

Archaeological Development Services Ltd (ADS) are one of Ireland’s leading archaeological service providers. For 2011 we have developed a practical course in Forensic Anthropology providing a unique opportunity to those interested in seeking an introduction to the study of human remains in archaeology and, in a broader context, the archaeology of death in Ireland. The training provided will be of interest to many who work in archaeology, including current students of archaeology as well as professionals who seek to learn more about this specialised area within archaeology. The course has been developed with the aim of providing participants with practical training of the highest professional standard from practising professional archaeologists and Ireland’s leading forensic anthropologist, Laureen Buckley.

Laureen has studied human skeletal remains from an archaeological context for 25 years. She is regularly consulted by the Gardai and the State Pathologists’ for advice on skeletal material and to aid in identification of human remains from a forensic context. She is currently also an honorary lecturer in the Dept. of Forensic Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Laureen has studied human skeletal remains from all periods from the Bronze Age, Early Medieval and the Post-medieval period, concentrating on palaeopathology and weapon trauma.

The human body, and particularly the skeleton, has always been a source of fascination, providing inspiration to artists and being a necessary learning aid for medical students over the centuries. Archaeologists have long experienced a rise in public interest when skeletons are found on an excavation site, not only from schoolchildren wanting to hear the gory details of the deaths of these people, but also from the local community who are amazed to find that their ancestors were closer than they thought. Students from all areas, young and old, continue to find human bone fascinating. It seems that once an interest is sparked, and the depth of information that can be revealed from reading a skeleton is realised, then the osteology student is hooked for life.

Forensic Anthropology is the interpretation of the human skeleton to reconstruct the life of the person. The experiences of a person’s life leave an imprint on their bones and the forensic anthropologist seeks to answer as many questions as possible:

Did they die young or live to an old age?

Did they have a good diet or did they suffer from malnutrition?

How tall did they grow?

Were they quiet and sedentary or did they have a vigorous lifestyle?

Were they afflicted with chronic disease?

Did they inherit traits from their parents?

The above are just some of the questions that can be answered by those with the skills to read bones, and they can reveal fascinating details about the life, and sometimes the death, of a person who lived centuries ago.

Introduction to Forensic Anthropology summary course outline

This two week course consists of a series of lectures and laboratory work. Students will have the opportunity to examine the human skeleton in detail, learn to identify the different bones and discover the wealth of information they contain. Topics covered include

. Introduction to the skeleton and skeletal development

. Determination of Sex, Age and Living Stature

. Congenital Developmental Abnormalities

. Post-mortem or ante-mortem bone changes

. Palaeopathology of Skeletal Remains

University accreditation is pending, participants will be supplied with a certificate of satisfactory completion of the field school.

Dates for 2001 are as follows:

20th June – 1st July

4th-15th July

18th-29th July

Fees:

Fees are inclusive of accommodation which is provided on a self catering basis, a learning pack and log book and the provision of laboratory equipment for use while in attendance. The school runs Monday – Friday inclusive 9am – 4.30pm. Participants are free to explore the beautiful sites and scenary of the Irish Midlands at the weekends or may avail of additional guided tours of sites of interest in the local area for a small additional fee.

Introduction to Forensic Anthropology €1,995

Location:

Accommodation will be provided in Kells, Co Meath and the school will be based in the ADS offices and laboratories in Kells Business Park.

Booking:

A deposit of 50% of the fee payable before 31st March 2011 will secure your booking with the balance due by 1st May 2011. Booking forms and furter details are available by emailing training@adsireland.ie or by contacting Jane Whitaker directly at 00353 866012040.

See the website for these training opportunities at www.adsireland.ie.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Founding Fathers?

Plato's writings about an ancient advanced civilization may not be altogether fantasy. New scientific research is raising some tantalizing new considerations. Was there indeed a great founding culture and people that gave rise to the well-known civilizations that ringed and navigated the Mediterranean and laid foundations for the emergence of European societies? Read more about this at Popular Archaeology.

Exploring the Early Years of Alexander the Great


In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: from Boy to King

For more than 2,000 years Alexander the Great has excited the imagination of people around the globe. A tour in Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia offers a unique opportunity to retrace his early footsteps from his birth through to the beginning of his extraordinary 22,000 mile journey of conquest.


Traveling back through time, participants will explore the world in which Alexander grew up, from the palace in which he was born to the rural idyll where he and his companions were educated by Aristotle. They will learn about Alexander’s personality and the lives of the people who inhabited his tumultuous world. They will follow in his footsteps from young prince to king and trace these action-packed years as he took on the mantle of warrior and leader and embarked on his campaign of conquest of the Persian Empire.


Alexander’s formative years were dominated by the rapid expansion of the Macedonian kingdom, as his father Philip II carved out vast new provinces. Participants will learn about this expanded realm from East to West and North to South, following routes that Alexander took as regent to his father, the king, while familiarising himself with the land that he was born to rule. They will explore the lakes and forests of Western Macedonia, the new cities of Herakleia Lynkestis and Philippi that his father founded to secure his realm, and the rich and fertile heartland of the kingdom itself: Pella, Vergina and Edessa. They will visit the sites of some of the most famous sieges and battles that accompanied this rapid expansion, from the cities of Methone, Olynthos and Stageira to the battlefield of Chaironeia.


Having explored the epicenter of Alexander’s kingdom, and stood in the magnificent tomb where his father was laid to rest, the group will head south into the heartland of ancient Greece. Here they will investigate the cities and sanctuaries that played a key role in the development of Macedonia, from Delphi to Corinth, Olympia to Athens, some of the most significant sites in the ancient world.


The adventure finishes in the most important sanctuary of the Macedonians, Dion, where Alexander feasted with his men and prepared them for the battles and marches to come on their epic journey east.


For more detailed information about this escorted tour, see Peter Sommer Travels.

Photo courtesy Heinrich Hall/Peter Sommer travels.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Touring Virtually: The Virtual World Project

A view of ancient Jerash in Jordan, from the Virtual World Project

Looking for a way to tour some fascinating archaeological sites but you're short on time and cash? Here is a viable option developed by Nicolae Roddy and Ronald Simkins of Creighton University: The "Virtual World Project". It is a web-based teaching and study tool that presents interactive virtual reality tours of the ancient world. Updated continuously, it is an ongoing project with a primary focus on the Levant. To date, many important archaeological sites in Israel and Jordan have been extensively photographed and graphically represented to allow the visitor to "walk" through the sites, many of which offer an audio component, as well. The real fun, however, is in the personal control the website user has to explore the area and features of the ancient sites. From a selected start point, you can choose your "walking" direction and pace and control the area of your visual scan. For most of us, for the present, this is as close as we are going to get to these places. Check it out, and happy touring!
The Virtual World Project

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Archaeological Tours

Not interested in digging right now, but you enjoy things archaeological? Here are some sources for great archaeological travel tours:


1. Archaeological Institute of America Tours
2. Archaeological Tours
3. Explorations
4. Mayatour
5. Far Horizons
6. iExplore
7. Chevvy Tours LLC
8. Gecko's Grassroots Adventures
9.Geographic Expeditions
10.Peter Sommer Travels
11.Beyond Touring
12.Tutku Tours
13.Voyages to Antiquity
14.The Archaeological Conservancy

Special Featured Tours:

Peter Sommer Travels: Exploring Ancient Turkey by Land and Sea
Beyond Touring: Touring with a Purpose in Belize

Monday, March 29, 2010

Excavating the Ancient City of Stobi

Stobi

For more than a century the ancient city of Stobi - the capital of Macedonia Secunda - has been attracting scientists from all over the world to reveal its secrets. The first historiography records that mention Stobi are provided by the Roman historian Titus Livy, and concern the victory of the Macedonian king Philip V over Dardanians in the vicinity of Stobi. In A.D. 69 Emperor Vespasian granted Stobi the rank of municipium and the right to mint its own coins. The salt trading and the good strategic position between two rivers, on the cross-road of Via Axia and branches of Via Diagonalis and Via Egnatia, brought to the city a long-lasting prosperity from the first to third century A.D. In 267/69 Stobi suffered from raids of Goths and Herules, but was rebuilt after their devastating attacks. In the fourth century A.D., the city became the seat of mighty bishops, and in the fifth century – the capital city of Macedonia Secunda. It was devastated several times by the raids of "Barbars", but an earthquake in A.D. 518 marked the end of the urban living in Stobi.

Season 2010 envisions excavations will take place in three sectors: the Theater (built in the second century A.D.), the Western Necropolis (first century B.C. - fourth century A.D.) and an ancient Roman temple. Two field school sessions are available in 2010. The program includes the following modules: fieldwork; educational course (lectures, workshops and field training in Early and Late Roman Archaeology), and excursions to the old towns of Prilep and Bitola, the archaeological site of
Heraclea Lyncestis as well as to Ohrid (UNESCO World Heritage Site). All participants will receive a BH Field School Certificate of Attendance.

Detailed information about this project is available at: http://www.bhfieldschool.org/bh2010stobi.html

Online application form: http://www.bhfieldschool.org/apply.php


Periods of occupation: Late Hellenistic, Roman, Early Byzantine Second century B.C. – Sixth century A.D.)

Location: Macedonia

Session dates: Session 1: August 7-21, 2010; Session 2: August 22 - September 5, 2010

Workshop on Ancient Greek Pottery

Greek Pottery

The WORKSHOP FOR RESTORATION AND DOCUMENTATION OF ANCIENT GREEK POTTERY will guide participants through the history of Ancient Greek pottery, its production and consequent stages of archaeological conservation, documentation, study, and restoration. Both the theoretical and practical courses will be based on artifacts found in the ancient Greek city of Apollonia Pontica on the Black Sea. The project in 2010 will include three modules: practical work in documentation and restoration of ancient Greek pottery; educational course (lectures, trainings, study - and behind-the-scenes visits) and excursions to the ancient coastal towns of Nessebar (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Sozopol as well as the city of Varna (including visits to the archaeological museums in Sozopol, Nessebar, Varna and a contemporary pottery workshop). By the end of the workshop the participants will: know basic methods of how to document and restore ancient pottery; develop basic/further practical skills (depending on participant’s initial level of qualification) in ancient pottery restoration and graphics; reproduction of ancient pottery shards/vessels; deepen their knowledge through first-hand experience on Ancient Mediterranean/European History and Archaeology; meet professionals who work in the areas of Classical Archaeology and/or pottery restoration and documentation. All participants will receive the Balkan Heritage Field School Certificate of Attendance.

Detailed information about this project is available at: http://www.bhfieldschool.org/bh2007apdr.html

Online application form
: http://www.bhfieldschool.org/apply.php


Periods of occupation: Antiquity: Ancient Greek and Hellenistic (Seventh - First century B.C.)

Location: Southern Bulgarian Black sea coast, Bulgaria

Season dates: September 06, 2010 - September 19, 2010

Early Christian Monastery Excavations in Varna

Christian Monastery

100 years ago, the Bulgarian archaeologist Karel Schkorpil began excavating the early Christian church of the 6th century on the Djanavara hill in Varna (ancient Odessos). The Byzantine-era building was decorated with distinctive marble revetments, colorful mosaics, and its crypt contained three precious reliquaries made of gold, silver and marble. Unfortunately, nearly all documentation of Schkorpil’s excavation was lost while being transported to the U.S. for publication. Since 2007, the archaeologists have returned to the site to try to answer some lingering questions. Was the church a part of a larger monastic compound? What was the role of this structure for the early Christian community at Odessos? In addition to helping answer these questions, dig participants will attend regular lectures and workshops on archaeological methods and Byzantine archaeology and excursions to Black sea beaches and resorts, Madara (UNESCO World Heritage Site), stone forest rocks and Roman mosaics museum in Marcianopolis. All participants will receive a Balkan Heritage Field School Certificate of Attendance, specifying fieldwork hours, educational modules, and sites visited.

Field school follow-up excursion (3 days): to
Istanbul (Turkey) for only 99 EUR.


Detailed information about this project is available at: http://www.bhfieldschool.org/bh2007varexc09.html

Online application form: http://www.bhfieldschool.org/apply.php


Location: Western Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria

Session dates: Session 1: July 3- 17, 2010; Session 2: July 18- August 1, 2010

The Heraclea Lyncestis Excavation Project

Heraclea

According to the Athenian orator and lawyer Demosthenes, Heraclea was founded by Philip II (the father of Alexander the Great), as a strategic center of the north-western Macedonian province of Lyncestis. Heraclea was named in honor of Heracles (Hercules), the claimed progenitor of the ruling Macedonian dynasty which Philip belonged to. The epithet “Lyncestis” means “the Land of the Lynx” in Greek. Nowadays the ruins of the ancient city lie at the western side of modern town of Bitola. During the last half century archaeologists have uncovered and restored significant monuments of antiquity (the Forum, Theater, and early Christian basilicas and residential buildings, many of them decorated with polychrome mosaics). Season 2010 envisions excavations in two sectors: the acropolis or the area across the river (presumably Hellenistic and Early Roman), and the area around the Theater (Roman and Late Roman).

Two field school sessions are available in 2010. The program includes three modules: fieldwork; educational course (lectures, workshops and field trainings), and excursions to the UNESCO heritage town and lake of
Ohrid as well as the ancient city of Stobi. Field school participants will work on random excavation sectors with the possibility to shift to another sector. Participants who join both project sessions will have different schedules during the second session - the activities in the afternoons will include: Workshop in mosaic-making, field surveys, finds processing and documentation; excursions to Pelister National Park and local monasteries will replace the standard excursions in the second session. All participants will receive a Balkan Heritage Field School Certificate of Attendance specifying fieldwork hours, educational modules and sights visited.

Detailed information about this project is available at: http://www.bhfieldschool.org/bh2007.hlexc.html

The online application form is at: http://www.bhfieldschool.org/apply.php


Periods of occupation: Hellenistic, Roman, Late Roman (Fourth century B.C. – Sixth century A.D.)

Location: Pelagonia, Macedonia

Session dates: First session: July 3-17, 2010; Second session: July 18- August 1, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Smithsonian Exhibit a Big Hit


Few would argue with the fact that most people who walk away from a long visit at any of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., would be very favorably impressed with what they experienced. The same could be said of the Smithsonian's newest addition to its permanent exhibition spaces -- the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. Tucked artfully within the monumental walls of the Smithsonian's ever popular National Museum of Natural History, this exhibit presents some of the evidence that underpins the scientific explanation for how we, humans, evolved over time, focusing much of the discussion on how the earth's changing environments have played a salient role in the process. What makes this exhibit different than most museum presentations on the subject, however, is not the thematic focus, but how it is presented to the visiting public. After walking through a "time tunnel" entrance displaying the morphological milestones of human evolution, one walks into a spacious array of interactive stations designed to engage the visitor more directly in the learning process. Feel the sharp edge of a stone hand ax (cast) dated to over a million years ago. Do you see why it would be a useful tool? View a cast of a fossilized footprint made over 3 million years ago. It looks human, but you don't know for sure. The question below it on a wooden panel reads, "what made this footprint?" You lift the panel to see the answer inside -- "Australopithecus Afarensis" (an ancient hominid, or human predecessor, that lived over 3 million years ago in Africa). Would you like to see what you would look like as a Neanderthal person, a human species that inhabited Europe and Asia over 30,000 years ago? Then sit and interact with the face morphing station and watch yourself transform.

Hall of Human Origins

Not all of the fossilized bones and artifacts are casts. You can view an almost complete Neanderthal skeleton carefully preserved within a climate-controlled space. Currently on loan to the U.S., it was originally excavated at Shanidar Cave in current-day Iraq. Besides fossils and fossil casts like this, you can also view lifelike reconstructions of the faces of five different early species of humans, as well as beautifully sculpted life-sized bronze representations of early humans masterfully created by artist/sculptor John Gurche.

Going to Washington, D.C. for a vacation or just passing through? This would be a must-see for those interested in the distant human past; however, if it isn't in the cards for you at any time in the near future, you can still learn about it and much more on the topic of human evolution at Smithsonian's new website at http://humanorigins.si.edu. Either way, it is an adventure in learning.

Photo Credits: Chip Clark, Jim DiLoreto and Don Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blue Creek: Excavating an Upscale Community


When we think of the ancient Maya civilization, the monumental centers of Tikal, Palenque, Chichen Itza, and Copan usually come to mind. These, however, are only a few of the countless ancient sites, many of which, though known to exist, still lie unexcavated and unexplored. Still others are yet undiscovered, and their number is still a mystery. The jungle shrouds their secrets. The archaeologists who uncover and investigate these sites have many years of work ahead them before a complete picture of the Maya civilization, and how it mysteriously and suddenly declined, emerges.

Blue Creek

A comparatively small site in northwestern Belize promises to add an important chapter to the story. It will help answer questions about how a medium-sized community of approximately 20,000 people managed to support an unusually wealthy class of residents and a large public precinct surrounded by numerous, well-defined residential structures and agricultural components. Known as Blue Creek, scientists at this site have uncovered a large number of exotic goods, unusual for a community of this size. It is thought that its strategic location, in combination with the techniques the ancient inhabitants employed in agricultural production, defined the foundation for its wealth.


The Project

Dr. Thomas Guderjan of the Maya Research Program is leading a team of archaeologists and other professional staff to find answers to the questions surrounding the site. In 2010, the team will be returning to continue excavations in an elite residential area of Blue Creek, and in the agricultural field systems surrounding the site, including other nearby centers.
They are calling for students and volunteers to join them for their 2010 season, which begins May 24 and runs through July 25.


The Field School

Participants will receive training in field and laboratory techniques as well as receive a "crash course" on the Maya and archaeological methodology. Accommodation is at the Blue Creek research station, which has 35 small residential cabanas, a 1500 square foot laboratory building, a main building with a dining hall, and men's and women's restrooms and showers. All meals, equipment and supplies are provided. There will be four two-week sessions. Participants are welcome to join any or all of them.
A particularly noteworthy aspect of this opportunity involves the offering of 10 Welker Scholarships, funded by income from the Welker Endowment and a generous donation by Mr. Jack Thompson. The intent of the Scholarships is to encourage talented young undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the project and to pursue archaeology or related fields. Moreover, these students will be afforded greater responsibilities than other participants during the fieldwork.


Join the Team


For the student or enthusiast of Maya archaeology, the Blue Creek experience represents one of the best field school opportunities available for this region of the world. If you are interested in becoming a part of it, you can find out more by going to
www.mayaresearchprogram.org or by emailing Dr. Guderjan at guderjan@gmail.com. The project staff has prepared an excellent, detailed Participant Guide that will tell you just about everything you would want to know as a Project student or volunteer. The Guide can be accessed at the website.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

The Madison Legacy From the Ground Down


For those familiar with the historical foundations of the U.S. American experience, James Madison figures very large among the country's founders. In fact, among his peers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and according to most present day scholars, Madison is widely regarded as the "Father of the U.S. Constitution", reflecting the prominent role he played in it's inception. His famous wife, Dolley Madison, for her part, figured no less prominently on the early American stage. What is less known about the Madisons is the fact that they owned and operated one of America's greatest early plantations, matching those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and George Mason. Known as Montpelier, the plantation, including the great mansion house, has been preserved for public touring and education and continues to improve what it has to offer to the visiting public through well-organized programs and research. Public participation factors as a major component of the Montpelier experience, and nothing could be more hands-on than the activities designed by the Montpelier Archaeology Department to let the public really get their hands dirty by excavating history in the plantation soil.


THE EXCAVATIONS


Beginning in the spring of 2011, the Montpelier Archaeology Department will be conducting investigations of the "South Yard", an area immediately to the south of the mansion and location of the domestic slave quarters. During the 2011 excavations, archaeology team members will be looking for the structural remains of the quarters, smokehouses, work yards, and the pathways that link them into the broader plantation community. The objective is to examine and interpret the cultural data to help piece together a picture of how the South Yard related to the plantation, and how it helps in developing a more complete understanding of slave life on the plantation and the plantation operations in general.

montpelierexpeditions

JOIN THE TEAM!


The Archaeology Department is currently seeking volunteers who would be interested in becoming an integral part of the research team. The season will be divided into nine 1-week programs or sessions (called expeditions), beginning March 27 and ending October 29. With a staff of 8 archaeologists, volunteers will enjoy significant personal interaction with the research team professionals, who will walk the volunteers step-by-step through the entire excavation process, including lab work. The experience includes lectures and tours of various archaeological sites on the property, including the mansion house. For a tax deductible fee of $650, participants will get all of the above for each 1-week expedition, including two group dinners and lodging at the Arlington House, a historic antebellum home located on the estate's historic grounds. All in all, this program ranks among the best for those interested in a practical, hands-on introduction to American historical archaeology.
More detailed information about the research, opportunity, and application procedure can be found on the website at www.montpelier.org/archaeologyprograms . For general information about James Madison, Dolley Madison, Montpelier, and the archaeology program, go to www.montpelier.org.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Digging Jamestown

For many years it was assumed by scholars that the original James Fort constructed by English colonists in 1607 at the site of Jamestown, Virginia (the first permanent English colony in America) had long been claimed for oblivion by the waters of the nearby James River; however, since 1994, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, in conjunction with the University of Virginia, has conducted excavations that have revealed thousands of artifacts and soil features clearly identified with the Fort. Thus far, these excavations have uncovered most of the palisade wall lines, bulwarks, cellars, and buildings that were all part of the original James Fort configuration. This is the "glamour dig" of American historical archaeology. It is meticulously executed, well managed, and extremely well documented and published. An ongoing account of the discoveries can be found by going to the website.



You can also apply to be part of this investigation. Dr. William Kelso of the University of Virginia leads a formal field school during the summer of 2010. The field school is designed to teach theory and methods of field work in American Historical Archaeology. Students will learn how to investigate the features related to James Fort and to identify and interpret 17th century European and Native American artifacts. In addition, upon successful completion of the program, students will receive six (6) graduate credits in Anthropology from the University of Virginia. You should know that this would involve a six-week commitment, provided your application is accepted......and if it isn't in the cards for you now, it might be worth keeping it in mind for the future. For more detailed information about the field school and the application requirements, go to www.apva.org/fldschl.html.