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Program for


Artifacts tell us how far we have come, and how far we have strayed.

Archaeology is the study of past human cultures, focusing on the ways in which people and their societies have changed over time around the world. It focuses on the material remains of culture—artifacts, buildings and other physical manifestations of culture—to understand the past and explain the present.

Washington College’s Field School in Archaeology is an eight-credit course designed to give students practical experience in all phases of archaeological fieldwork, from site preparation through lab analysis. We do this by rotating students through various activities such as surveying methods (with compass, transit and GPS), site reconnaissance and remote sensing technologies, excavation, recording, drawing, photography, and laboratory processing. We begin each of these activities with lectures, supplemented by readings and a field manual written specifically for the Field School.

In addition to the practical aspects of the course, students learn a great deal about regional and local history. Depending on the specific site chosen for the Field School, students may be exposed to other topics, such as architectural analysis and the archaeology of plantations, African-Americans, and Maryland’s Upper Eastern Shore. Although the primary focus of our field sessions is on land, beginning in 2003 students also will have the option of participating in maritime or underwater archaeology surveys in the region.

Our News

  • Hugh McKeever ’13 uses side-scan sonar to look for a potential wreck site near Rock Hall, Md.
    Thanks to the Center for Environment & Society’s serendipitous discovery of what’s possibly an 18th-century shipwreck in the Chester River, Washington College students have a unique new classroom to explore.
  • Justine McKnight (left), an archaeobotanist, explains to Nicolle Gamez ’14 how soil flotation works.
    Students at Washington College’s Summer Archaeology Field School are using some intriguing techniques to study a local Native American community that dates back thousands of years.
  • Prof. Bill Schindler in The Chronicle of Higher Education