Archaeological fieldwork is highly recommended for all archaeology students. Typically carried out over the summer, it is an excellent way to acquire hands-on experience and training in archaeological methods and excavation techniques. It also allows students to explore the history and material culture of a region in greater depth, and in some cases even to conduct research on primary materials from a site which can then serve as the basis for a senior thesis or capstone project.  Excavation experience is strongly encouraged, and completion of an approved archaeological field school program may be susbtituted for the Method and Theory requirement.

Fieldwork opportunities are offered by our Wesleyan faculty both on-campus and abroad (see Wesleyan-Affiliated Projects below) as well as through a number of programs worldwide. In selecting a field school you may wish to consider the following:

  • Which region and historical periods interest you most?
  • What kind of skills do you hope to develop? (excavation techniques, GIS survey, etc?)
  • What is your budget?  (Field schools can be costly and fees typically don't include airfare)
  • How long is the program? (most range from 3-6 weeks) 

Some Funding Sources are available that can help to defray the cost of fieldwork programs. 


Excavations at Ashkelon, Israel 
Inhabited from 2500 B.C. To 1200 A.D.,  this ancient Mediterranean port is the site of an ongoing research excavation which has uncovered a massive biblical, Classical and Crusader period city.  The Ashkelon summer archaeological field school provides intense in-field training, throughout which Wesleyan undergraduates excavate side-by-side with with professional archaeologists and graduate students to learn excavation techniques and analytical methods. Students also participate in workshops in archaeological technologies, such as GIS, XRF analysis of ancient metals, and FTIR analysis of geoarchaeological samples.  The program also includes several field trips to archaeological sites in Israel. Wesleyan credit is available for students participating in the full six-week field school program: for details contact Prof. Birney.

Beman Triangle Project 
Here at Wesleyan, on the triangle of land between Vine Street, Cross Street, and Knowles Avenue (known as the Beman Triangle), a community of African Americans began to build houses from the mid-nineteenth century on land owned by one of their community, Leveret Beman. Students have the opportunity to participate in excavations at the Beman Triangle during the summer through an archaeological field school offered on-campus with Dr. Sarah Croucher. Wesleyan students will acquire training in the field methods of historical archaeology, through daily excavation at the Beman Triangle site and working on materials analysis at the Cady Building Archaeology Laboratory.