About the Archaeological Field School
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 first two seasons’ field schools located three of the fort’s palisade walls, a bake oven, the privy, and numerous colonial and prehistoric artifacts. Under the direction of archaeologist Dr. Jonathan Burns, the 2013 field school will locate the east palisade wall, explore the interior of the fort for features and structures, and expose large areas of the fort’s corners or bastions.
During this past summer session, the field school located the west wall of Fort Shirley’s palisade, defined the northwestern bastion defenses, located 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). The project has recovered a wealth of information about culture contact, trade, and life on Pennsylvania’s colonial frontier. This summer the field school will be returning to the Fort Shirley site for a fourth field season to further explore the fort’s defenses and internal structures.
Built by George Croghan (Pennsylvania’s most infamous trader and land speculator) under a unique set of circumstances in October of 1755, Fort Shirley is a rare example of an early provincial fort, exhibiting a distinct Native American presence. This archaeological site is a testament to the very special relationship between Croghan and the Ohio Seneca.
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 13 through June 21, 2013.
There will be a break for lunch. Some days will be devoted to lab work and lectures by visiting experts.