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JMU offers multiple undergraduate or graduate course options for students interested in developing a working understanding of the field methods of modern prehistoric and historic archaeology. Students gain experience in site survey, testing, and excavation. Coursework concentrates on artifact identification in the field and introduces laboratory strategies of artifact preparation.

JMU's Summer 2016 Montpelier Archaeology Field School

The Archaeology Field School at James Madison’s Montpelier is 4 weeks long, and is offered as a 4 credit-hour course. 

For more information contact Dr. Julie Solometo (solomejp(at)jmu).edu and visit the Monpelier website.



Our field school will explore the cultural implications of first contact between Native Americans and first Spanish explorers in the New World.
Two sites will be investigated. The first is a late prehistoric Indian community (ca. AD 1450-1550) known as the Glass Site that previous archaeological investigations have established to be a place of direct Indian-Spanish interaction, probably involving a large party led by the infamous conquistador, Hernando de Soto. This rare evidence elucidates aspects of the earliest phase of Spanish expansion on this continent and, more importantly, the effects of first “contacts” between Europeans and indigenous populations. The field school director, Dennis Blanton, has led archaeological investigation of this site since 2006 and the field school will explore areas where a defensive “moat” appears to surround the Indian community and where structures were located within it. Work at this site will span approximately four weeks.
The second site is large, virtually undocumented Mississippian mound complex (ca. AD 1350-1600). The field school will begin the process of creating a detailed map of the extensive site, including its three large platform mounds, and also begin systematic sampling of the village area (approx. 2 weeks). This site is located within an Indian province known as Capachequi through which Hernando de Soto is also known to have passed in the spring of 1540.
The field school agenda includes instruction and participation in total station mapping, systematic site sampling, and hand excavation of units. Attention will also be given to rigorous documentation of activities and findings via a field laboratory, digital photography, etc. Special trips will be made to other archaeological sites and to historic Savannah

Dominica Alternative Spring Break and Anthropology Course

"Ethnographic Experience in Dominica" is an upper-level anthropology course that centers around JMU’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip to the Caribbean island of Dominica (not the Dominican Republic). Students enrolled in ANTH 395 will be immersed in the culture of Dominica through meetings and experiences with our hosts and through participation in cultural and eco-tourism activities around the island. Before departing, students will carry out extensive background study of the island's history, culture, and languages, and will formulate individual projects. While in Dominica, students will explore their topics of interest through observation of and first-hand participation in everyday life in home, school, work, and community settings, including a service-learning project with our Dominican partners. This 3-credit course is offered every two years during the spring semester and requires permission of the instructor. For more information, contact Dr. Amy Paugh at: paughal@jmu.edu.

For more ASB information, click here.

Kenya Summer Program

This field school offers students an opportunity to learn about Kenya through intensive, firsthand experiences.  Through travel and engagement with Kenyan hosts, students will study topics in anthropology, history, politics, development, environment, literature, and the ways in which these general foci interrelate with one another.  This program is open to students from all majors.
Click here to read more.

Or watch this video...

Bringing in the Cattle - Maasai Boma 2006

Cameroon Summer Program: Biological and Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation

Cameroon Summer Program

This program offers a unique opportunity to see a part of the world few people get to experience.  You will learn about the biological, social, and cultural aspects of wildlife conservation in the tropics through direct interaction and complete immersion in Cameroon society.  You will camp and hike in the rainforest, learning to survey and study plants, birds, primates and other animals.  You will travel to many different parts of Cameroon, from lowland to montane forests, from big cities to tiny villages, closely interacting with Cameroonians along the way, including scientists, farmers, hunters, pastoralists, and more.

You must be a mature, responsible student who enjoys the outdoors and has an open mind.  Students studying biology, geographic science, environmental science, anthropology, or sociology may be particularly interested in this program - but all majors and interests are welcome!

For more information, download the flier here and contact Dr. Joshua Linder at: linderjm@jmu.edu

To dowload the application, click here.