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Archaeology Field School

ANTH 490 Archaeology Field School

Students interested in a well-rounded anthropological education and especially those students interested in archaeology as a career are urged to register for the summer Archaeology Field School (ANTH 490). The purpose of the field school is to train students in the basic techniques and methods of archaeological survey, excavation, and analysis, and usually involves six weeks in a field camp setting. Students are encouraged to attend early in their academic careers as this may provide additional fieldwork opportunities. Notably, most federal agencies now require a field school as appropriate training for government service.

Summer Field School

Past field schools took place at Celebration Park and the Orchard Combat Training Center. The field school provides basic training in methods and techniques of archaeological excavation, survey, laboratory processing, cataloging, and data analysis. In addition, informal discussions and lectures focus on methods of data recovery, analysis of field data, and the analytical basis for explaining archaeological data within cultural-historical and scientific frameworks. Lecture topics include essentials of research strategy, current methodological and theoretical issues, and prehistory of the western Snake River Plain. Short field trips to other archaeological sites/points of interest also occur, if possible.

Field school will meet four days a week (Monday – Thursday) for six weeks, from May through June. Fieldwork sessions are normally eight hours each day. The first four weeks of the field school are held at Celebration Park. Transportation is provided from Boise State to the park on Mondays and back to Boise State on Thursday evenings. Students stay overnight at the park in dorm-style accommodations. Meals and snacks provided. The last two weeks of field school are held at the Orchard Combat Training Center (OCTC). Transportation is provided daily between Boise State and OCTC. Lunch and snacks are provided. Field and kitchen equipment and supplies are provided. Students are required to provide their personal gear (including bedding for the first four weeks).

Application Process

Talk to your advisor about how to apply for Summer/Fall 2024.


Enrollment is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Course prerequisites include ANTH 103 Intro to Archaeology and PERM/INST. The field school restricts enrollment to 12 persons to ensure a quality experience for each student. Since enrollment is limited, students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Preference will be given to anthropology majors. Once you have been notified of your acceptance into the field school, a permission number will be issued to register for the class. Students must register through their myBoiseState account for 6 credit hours.


Upon registering for ANTH 490 a $700 field school food and housing/course fee will be added to your student account. The course fee and food and housing fee are required along with the 6-credit course fee. The course fee and food and housing fees must be paid prior to the beginning of the field school unless the fees are being paid from a summer financial aid award, at which time the fees will be paid with the summer financial aid award is disbursed.

Scholarship Opportunities

There are scholarship opportunities available to assist students with covering the cost of the field school.

Boise State Anthropology Department Field School Scholarship

The department offers several food and housing Scholarships to eligible students. See the Archaeology Field School Application form for details, or contact

Archaeological Institute of America Scholarship

The Archaeological Institute of America offers a scholarship to first-time participants in an archaeological field school.

Sponsor: Archaeological Institute of America
Program Number: 98176
Title: Jane C. Waldbaum Archaeological Field School Scholarship
Program URL:
Synopsis: Established in honor of AIA Past President Jane Waldbaum, this scholarship is intended to help students who are planning to participate in archaeological fieldwork for the first time. Students majoring in archaeology or related disciplines are especially encouraged to apply.

The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS)

The Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship endowment fund was established in 2010 to increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups obtaining degrees in archaeology. The SAA HUGS provides funding for minority archaeology students to attend archaeological field schools and thus prepare for careers in archeology and heritage management. The submission period opens on October 1 annually. Learn more about the HUGS award and how to apply.