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Anthropology | Field Schools

Washington State University Students in the Field

In order to be competitive in today’s growing work force students must gain hands-on experience. The Department of Anthropology strongly encourages its students to obtain some field experience in one of the Anthropological sub-disciplines. One way for students to do this is through a field school.

A field school is primarily for the training of undergraduate or graduate students. For around six or eight weeks in the summer, a small band of students is taken into the field and shown how to dig, given lectures, sometimes an exam, sometimes a project of some sort. The students get credit and training that way, starting them off in a career in archaeology.

For answers to any questions not covered in these pages please email the department, call us at 509.335.3441.

Summer 2024 – ANTH 399 Field School

Dr. Mackenzie Cory

Email: for more information.

Find application here:  Field School Application

Download Flyer: ANTH 399 Field School Flyer

ANTH 399 Field School Flyer



2023 – In the Field with Dr. Shannon Tushingham

Please review the information below regarding last summer’s field school to get an idea of the field school experience with WSU.

We will post any upcoming field schools on this page.


Indigenous collaboration, first foods, and cultural resource management at Indian Creek

2023 WSU Archaeological Field School

Please visit WSU Archaeological Field School page for for field school announcements.


About the WSU Archaeological Field School

The 2023 Washington State University (WSU) archaeological field school is a collaborative project developed with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. The field school will take place in the scenic Pend Oreille County, northeastern Washington state, near the town of Newport, Washington. The field school is designed to prepare students for the evolving professional, academic, and compliance landscapes of archaeology. It provides a unique opportunity for students to participate in a research project investigating indigenous food systems while learning first hand skills from a team of leaders in academic, Tribal, and cultural resource management (CRM) archaeology.

With a curriculum developed and taught in partnership with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and Far Western Anthropological Research Group, the knowledge and skills students will gain will help them prepare for a variety of futures, including graduate school, work with Tribes and collaborative programs, and careers in the ever-expanding field of CRM (e.g., see Altschul and Klein 2022, “Forecast for the US CRM Industry and Job Market, 2022-2031“).

In addition to teaching students fundamental field and lab skills essential to diverse careers in archaeology, the field school will be a lot of fun! We will work hard in the field and lab, but also visit cultural sites, engage in lively discussions, participate in public outreach programs, and learn from Tribal experts about the Kalispel Tribe and their history.

Collaborative research at Indian Creek

The field school is located in rural Pend Oreille County-part of the homelands of the Salish-speaking Kalispel. This is an environmentally, culturally, and historically rich region, with much to explore and learn. In addtion to learning about Tribal history and culture, students will help to document Kalispel land use and foodways at the Indian Creek site through the excavation of numerous earth oven features. Initial radiocarbon dating of cores at these features suggests the site was used over a span of 5000 years. Artifacts collected in the field will be analyzed in the project lab near our campsite, and a major focus will be on recovering clues about culinary traditions and diet through ethnobotany, flotation, and other analyses. which will help students to better understand cultural sequences, analyze material culture in detail, and learn about artifact curation and preservation. Field trips along with visits from experts in the field of archaeology and other guests will help to enhance the student appreciation and understanding of the region’s expansive natural and cultural history.

The Indian Creek project provides an exciting and rare opportunity to conduct cutting-edge scientific research and apply modern analytical techniques in a collaborative research context. Our emphasis is to develop a collaborative research model, that incorporates Tribal values and needs, while also training students (to work for and with Tribes, to better understand the context of their work).

The field school is bound by three prevailing themes: 1) emphasizing “decolonized” approaches to archaeological method and theory that promote ethical collaboration with descendant communities; 2) exploring questions about historical ecology, “first foods”, diet, health, food sovereignty, and family decision making and cooperation through an archaeological understanding of earth oven technologies and traditions, landscape use and Traditional Ecological Knowledge; and 3) training students in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) policies and practice, which is not only necessary for a career in archaeology in countries like the US, but is directly applicable to other heritage and resource management professions, both nationally and internationally.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost and how do I register?

Field school students are required to enroll in 6 credits of Archaeological Field School through the Pullman campus: ANTH 399 (undergraduates) or ANTH 599 (graduates) for the Summer 2022 semester. The 2023 summer session tuition and fee can be found here. Course costs include tuition (undergraduate tuition is $563.35 per credit or $3380.10/ 6 credits; graduate tuition is $646.25 per credit or $3877.50). In addition, there is a $543 fee that will defray camping and food expenses.

To be considered for the field school, you must complete and submit the application form (see link and instructions above). We will send you registration and deposit information upon acceptance into the field school. Please remember that the priority deadline for submitting applications is March 1, 2023. Applications submitted after March 1st will be considered only if space is available. You will be asked to provide a $500 deposit (due April 15) to secure your spot in the field school.

You are responsible for bringing your own personal field gear and supplies (a detailed list will be sent in the spring), spending money, special foods, and any medication that you need.

What are the living and meal accommodations like?

The Kalispel Tribe is hosting us at their Indian Creek Community Forest-a unique and beautiful place that will also be our laboratory and classroom headquarters. Participants will be camping for the duration of the field school. We will ensure access to basic amenities (e.g., portalets and/or access to bathrooms, showers or solar shower stalls, a kitchen facility, electronics charging station, etc.). Meals will be prepared and shared by the group.

In addition to cooking responsibilities, tasks related to the basic maintenance of the field camp will be shared by students and staff. We will accommodate dietary allergies and try to accommodate other dietary needs to the best of our ability, but due to field school conditions, it may be difficult to meet the specialized needs of some diets.

Field school participants will have the opportunity to run personal errands in Newport (e.g., stock up on supplies, use a laundromat, access a bank ATM)-typically on Sundays.

What is the weather like?

Daytime temperatures in late May to early June average in the mid-70s to high 80s, with nighttime lows in the low 40s to mid-50s. While relatively uncommon, it is possible for temperatures to reach as high as the low 100s on some days. Summers are relatively dry, but rain may occur. Prepare for warm, dry days and cool nights, with the potential for scattered showers. In other words: come prepared, and be ready to layer!

How will I get there?

With prior notice, project vehicles can transport field school participants from the WSU Pullman campus to the field school and back again. Students should plan to arrive at the camp and set up the day before field school begins (May 21) at the latest. If you are not local, please discuss with staff before making any flight arrangements, but the closest airports are the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport (PUW) and Spokane International Airport (GEG). It is possible for students to bring their own cars if space allows.

What is the work schedule like?

This is an intensive field and laboratory course. Students should expect to work hard and learn a great deal over four (very packed) weeks of instruction. In general, the plan is that we will work Mondays through Saturdays, with Sundays off. However, students should expect to be flexible as our work schedule will depend on many circumstances (e.g., weather, field conditions, field trip opportunities, changes in field locations). Generally, expect to depart for the project area after breakfast at around 8 am on most days (earlier or later depending on weather and other conditions), and expect to take part in evening activities, lectures, and labs.

Students will be trained in a wide range of field and laboratory skills, which they will have ample opportunity to practice. Fieldwork activities include excavating units and subsurface shovel probes, screening soils, flotation, pedestrian survey, recording sites/features/isolates, drawing stratigraphic profiles, analyzing soils and geologic features, mapping, photographing, documenting vegetation and landforms, and revisiting previously recorded sites. Labs will provide students with opportunities for artifact and ecofact identification/analysis/recording, cataloging, learning ArcGIS and WISAARD, and training in collections care and management.

Students and staff will share meal preparation duties and tasks related to camp and shared workspace maintenance. Students will rotate between cooking, maintenance tasks, and lab work in the evenings. Reading discussions, presentations, and daily activity discussions will also take place on most evenings as part of the course curriculum. Since graduate and undergraduate students will be enrolled in the same number of credits (6 units), graduate students will be expected to take on some additional responsibilities as well as a capstone project and presentation.

What are the physical requirements of the field school?

This field school cultivates an inclusive environment for people of all abilities. On most days, the majority of field school participants will engage in a variety of physical activities, including digging and skimming with shovels, troweling, carrying buckets of soil over short distances, shaking and sifting through screens, carrying field gear and equipment, some hiking through a variety of landforms, loading and unloading vehicles and trailers, and setting up and taking down lodging and field equipment. Our priority is to ensure a safe and happy work environment, and we ask that you work to the best of your abilities within reason, and to recognize and take precautions against the risks inherent in outdoor work.

Is there a syllabus and list of required readings?

A syllabus, complete with a list of required readings, will be distributed to registered students. Required readings will be printed on a reader and will also be made available through a shared course drive.

Code of Conduct

WSU is committed to maintaining an inclusive environment that is safe and free of discrimination, and upholds a zero-tolerance policy for sexual and gender-based misconduct. All students and researchers will be required to adhere to WSU community standards and to review and sign a code of conduct that includes ethical standards for archaeological research, sustainable and collaborative practices, and policies prohibiting sexual harassment and misconduct, racism, ableism, and discrimination of any kind. As part of the course curriculum, students will critically engage with literature and discussions on harassment and equity issues in the sciences, with the goal of helping students to recognize biases and discrimination when they occur and to actively promote safe and equitable work environments. For more information on WSU community standards, visit To learn more about archaeological ethics, visit the Archaeological Ethics Database—created by the Register of Professional Archaeologists and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists—at

Public Archaeology Field School at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and Cannon Beach, Oregon

2023 WSU Vancouver Archaeological Field School

Please visit the Fort Vancouver National Park Service page for for field school announcements with Colin Grier.


Washington State University - Vancouver
WSU students take the course for 6 credits either at the undergraduate (Anth 399) or graduate level (Anth 599). Students from other institutions are welcome to take the fieldschool, but must first apply for admission to WSU as a non-degree seeking student in order to be accepted into the course.
Earned WSU credits can usually be transferred to the student’s home institution and apply towards their degree.
Courses: Anth 399 (6 undergraduate credits) or Anth 599 (6 graduate credits)
Washington State University - Vancouver
Dr. Colin Grier
Email Dr. Grier:
Cost: Estimate of tuition and fees. In addition, a course fee of approximately $750 will be assessed for food and transportation costs, and to replace consumable field gear and equipment. If you are on financial aid, please email Dr. Colin Grier for further information.