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.