2024 Summer Archaeological Field School

ANTH:3295 - Field Research in Archaeology

Dates: May 13th - June 6th, 2024
Contact: Dr. Matthew Hill (matthew-e-hill@uiowa.edu, 319-335-1425)

Join us for a four-week archaeological field school where we will investigate Ancestral Apache residential camps in the High Plains of Kansas. Much of the time will be spent excavating at site 14SC409, a residential camp dating to between AD 1680 and 1760. The site was occupied by a dynamic community of local Plains Apache people and Pueblo migrants that migrated from the northern New Mexico. This field school will be an intensive hands-on learning experience that offers opportunities to learn and apply various field methods, including surface surveying, shoveling testing, and full-scale excavation. Students will also practice various site mapping techniques using GPS, total stations, and photography as well as gain skills in artifact identifications, grid setup and geologic profiling. Below provides some information about the field school.

Questions: Contact Matthew Hill (matthew-e-hill@uiowa.edu).

Field School Application Form

Please submit completed form by April 15, 2024. There are limited spots so submit your form early!


Fieldwork will occur in western Kansas for two 10-day field sessions separated by a short break in which students will return to Iowa City. The specific dates are:

  • Field Session 1 (Kansas): May 13 - May 22 (includes travel days)
  • Break (Iowa City): May 23 - May 27
  • Field Session 2 (Kansas): May 28 - June 6 (includes travel days)

In late April, we will arrange a meeting for all participants where we will review key information, finalize schedules, and answer any questions.

Estimated Costs

The University will not finalize the fee rate until mid-March. However, we estimate the cost of the field school to be $2854.50. This includes:

  • Tuition (3 s.h.): $1,555.00 (same for residents and non-resident students)
  • Fees: $1,299.50 (covers food, housing, transportation, and other costs)

Non-UI students can be classified as a visiting student and pay UI tuition rates and fees, by 1) complete a nondegree student application, 2) submit a transcript, and 3) have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA. More information can be found at Non-degree Student Admissions

Funding Opportunities 

Undergraduate Scholarships for Experiential Learning 

Hawkeye Experience Grant for summer 2024 includes a new category (Field Experience)


We will be working and living in and around Historic Lake Scott State Park in western Kansas, approximately 650 miles from the UI campus. Click here for google map of the park area. This is an isolated rural area with the closest towns being Scott City, Kansas about 11 miles to the south. The park of is a popular spot for camping, boating, and hiking. It is a beautiful oasis of natural springs and wooded canyons in the otherwise dry flat High Plains. The park contains more than 70 archaeological and historic sites and is best known for containing the remains of the northern and eastern-most Native American pueblo, El Cuartelejo. This National Historic Landmark site is now an open-air reconstruction of the seven-room masonry pueblo built by migrants from the Rio Grande Valley and local Ancestral Apache in the mid-1600s. Our excavations will occur about 1 mile to the south of the pueblo and represents at site likely occupied by the descendants of the builders of the pueblo.

The field school will provide transportation to and from Kansas and while in the field. Due to parking limitations in the park, there will be limits on the use of private vehicles to travel to the project area. Project vehicles will only return Iowa City during the break period. Students must plan to be present during the entire duration of both field sessions.

Field Conditions and Accommodations

We will be camping, living, and working under very primitive and sometimes severe outdoor field conditions. You will work and sleep in a region where day-time highs are regularly above 100 degrees, and experience occasion intense thunderstorms (and possibly tornados). The field work will require moderately intensive physical effort including walking for long periods over uneven ground, digging with a shovel and trowels, and carrying heavy (~25 lbs.) buckets of dirt.

The field school participants will sleep and eat in several small, austere stone cabins. The cabins have electricity and simple kitchens, but lack running water, in-door plumbing, internet, and privacy. There are beds with clean sheets, blankets, and pillows, but have found that some students prefer to bring their own sleeping bags and pillows. Student will have access to daily showers and flush toilets at the public shower facility in the nearby park. A nearby cell tower usually provides reliable cell service for most cell plans. Project participants will be able to make periodic trips to nearby Scott City to obtain supplies.

Field school participants will make their own breakfast and lunches for the field, while dinners are cooked on a rotating basis by all the students, staff, and faculty involved in the project.

What to Bring

While food, housing, transportation, and field equipment will be provided by the field school, you are responsible for your own personal supplies and needs.

Some things you might what to remember to pack include:

  • Hat
  • Work gloves (to protect hands while shoveling and screening)
  • Water bottle (we will provide water while at the site)
  • Folding camp chair
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Sturdy shoes (beware cacti and yucca)
  • Enough clothes for 10 workdays (laundry facilities are not reliably available in Scott City). Even though it is hot, many people choose to wear long pants and a thin long-sleeved shirt for protection from sun while in the field.
  • Sweater or jacket (for cold nights)
  • Rain gear
  • Bath towel and shower toiletries
  • Bedding/sleeping bag and pillows (basic sheets and blanket are available in the cabin, but you may prefer to use your own)
  • Medicine, as necessary
  • Back up pair of glasses (because it can be very dusty, people who wear contacts sometime choose to where glasses instead).
  • Swimsuit (optional-there is a swimming area at the lake)
  • Spending money (while your daily food will be provided for in the field, please be aware you will need to cover your expenses on travel days)


We expect students to take part in all project activities both in and outside the field. This includes sharing in the responsibility for preparing meals, camp/cabin clean-up, and general field and camp maintenance activities. Because field school participants will be living and working in close quarters to each other, students are expected to always act with fairness, integrity, and respect for others. Finally, although this course will take place far from the Iowa City campus, the University’s Code of Student Life and other rules and regulations apply to students participating in the field school. This means the University’s limits or prohibitions on harassment, sexual misconduct, alcohol, firearms, and illegal drugs are in affect during the duration of the field school.