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.

Excavations of a Carthusian Charterhouse Monstery at Bourgfontaine, France 
An archaeological and historical study of a Charterhouse Monastery from its foundation in 1325 through its later use as a farm until circa 1950. Every year, Prof. Clark Maines brings a small group of Wesleyan students to participate in the research project, fieldwork and analysis. The goal is to better understand the lifeways of the Carthusian monks who made this their home, through archaeological analysis of standing structures and water systems and the material evidence for ritual. In addition, the project compares documentary evidence, historical maps and the landscape itself to reconstruct the landed domain which forms the basis of a monastery's economic success. For details contact Prof. Maines.

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.  A range of wonderful finds uncovered in the past five years of excavation - including a fascinating collection of 19th century pharmaceutical bottles - are now housed at the Cady Building Archaeology Laboratory and are presently being studied. Students have the opportunity to work on artifacts from the Beman Triangle excavation with Dr. Sarah Croucher.
 Working with these artifacts will give students exposure to the field methods of historical archaeology, and to develop skills in archaeological materials analysis.