The Penn State Department of Anthropology will offer an archaeological field school at Fort Shirley, an important colonial-era fort erected in 1755 by George Croghan. The French and Indian War (or the War for Empire) between Great Britain and France erupted in 1754 on the central Pennsylvania frontier — leaving the modern landscape dotted with historic fort sites aimed at providing protection for the British colonists. The first two seasons’ field schools located three of the fort’s palisade walls, a bake oven, the privy, and numerous colonial and prehistoric artifacts. During the third season, the field school located the west wall of Fort Shirley’s palisade, defined the northwestern bastion defenses, encountered the foundation of a building in the northeast quadrant of the fort, and began survey testing at Aughwick Old Town — the Native American refugee camp adjacent to George Croghan’s fort and trading post (1754–1756). During this past summer session, the field school located the southwest bastion and a large bake oven feature. Significant artifacts recovered were shell wampum, glass trade beads, copper ornaments, lead musket balls, buttons, ceramics, wooden post fragments, and dietary remains.
The ongoing Fort Shirley project has recovered a wealth of information about culture contact, trade, and life on Pennsylvania’s colonial frontier. Under the direction of archaeologist Dr. Jonathan Burns, the 2014 field school will document the fort’s eastern corner defenses, explore the interior of the fort for features and structures, and conduct additional survey testing at Aughwick Old Town. This field school is rather unique as students become experienced in both prehistoric and historic archaeology.
Whether you are a current anthropology student or simply interested in learning more about the subject, this program will provide an extraordinary opportunity for you to get firsthand experience in archaeological fieldwork. You can learn how to lay out grids, use a total station, excavate, and conduct preliminary laboratory work. Most instruction will be hands-on training in the field. The course will also offer lectures on historic archaeology and Pennsylvania history.
This course can provide good preparation for employment in contract archaeology and for graduate school in anthropology. However, students interested in history, geology, and other related fields also can benefit from this exciting and unique experience.
The field school will be offered through Penn State Continuing Education for 6 credits: ANTH 492 (3 credits) and ANTH 493 (3 credits). It will be held during the first six-week summer session, from May 12 through June 20, 2014.
There will be a break for lunch. Some days will be devoted to lab work and lectures by visiting experts.
Check out the Video, article and slideshow related to previous Archaeological Field Schools.