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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

North America - New York - University at Buffalo Archaeological Field School - 2013

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Start Date 2013-07-01
End Date 2013-08-09

Archaeology Field School Location

Sinking Ponds Site, East Aurora, NY

Archaeology Field School Tuition and Credits

Sponsoring College/Institution

State University of New York at Buffalo

Academic Credit


Archaeology Field School Tuition

In state: $1400, Out of state: $4000

In state: $2340, Out of state: $4170

Archaeology Field School Room and Board

Summer housing at the university can be arranged if needed.

Additional Information on Tution/Room and Board/Travel Costs

Transportation to Buffalo must be arranged by the student. Transportation will be provided from UB North Campus to the site and back. Students may also arrange their own form of transportation if preferred.

Course texts

Archaeology Field School Description

Field Research in Archaeology provides an intensive and rewarding archaeological field and lab experience for graduate and undergraduate students interested in archaeology. Field school is geared towards college students with some interest in North American Archaeology. Students will locate, excavate, document, and interpret a major archaeological site in western New York while learning professional techniques and using the latest technology available including a laser transit and total station. This exciting six week experience includes hands-on instruction and active participation by all students and instructors.

Students will take away the skills of site survey, mapping, excavation, soil sampling, artifact processing, artifact identification and analysis, and in the interpretation of a Native American archaeological site. Secondary goals of the course include discovering how people made and used stone tools and some of the earliest pottery in western New York. The team will reconstruct ancient artifacts and life ways while exploring what kinds of food were collected and processed at the site, and try to answer how and why people came to live at certain locations. Participants will learn to present archaeological information through multimedia platforms including video and web-based applications. The experience is made more comprehensive through a series of guest lectures regarding the current state of western New York archaeology, and of archaeology around the world.

The Sinking Ponds site was first identified by the University at Buffalo Archaeological Survey in the early 1960s. Formal excavations were conducted at the site from 1964 to 1970 under the direction of Joseph Granger, a Ph.D. student at SUNY Buffalo at the time. Granger’s dissertation on the Sinking Ponds site was published in 1978 and remains the key source of information regarding the Meadowood Culture.

Meadowood people are among the first to use many of the plant foods that would later become domesticated and grown as crops. Meadowood stone tools are among the most finely flaked objects in the archaeological record and numerous ‘cache blades’ were widely traded, perhaps thought of as a form of currency. These items, made of local Onondaga chert from places like Sinking Ponds, are found on archaeological sites all over the Northeastern US. Other representative material of this phase are carved steatite (soapstone) vessel fragments, and some of the earliest pottery known in the region.

The 2011 and 2012 field schools served to reinvestigate portions of the site that were considered significant by Granger, as well as expand excavations into the unknown aspects of the site. This work will continue in the 2013 season.

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Field School Setting/Conditions

Sinking Ponds is a wildlife sanctuary and public park in the town of East Aurora. The site lies up a short inclined path atop a glacial kame overlooking a series of post-glacial kettles and bogs. The site is wooded and heavily shaded, and gets a decent breeze. However, summer temperatures can still be quite high. Temporary bathrooms will be provided at the site.

How is the project area accessed each day

There is a small parking lot and garage building located at the entrance to the wildlife sanctuary. Everyday students will carry equipment and belongings up a short path to the archaeological site.

What is the daily schedule for the field school

Hours of work are from 9 AM to 4 PM, with a lunch break

Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation
Is there a professional certification for this field school


Directors and Instructors

Dr. Peter F. Biehl (Chair of the Anthropology Department)

Dr. Douglas Perrelli (Director of the Archaeological Survey of the University)

Ammie Mitchell (PhD candidate, field director)

On rain days will there be lab work?


Will there be additional organized activities?


Will there be additional organized activities?


Is travel restriced during free time?


Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website

Field School Contact Information

Department of Anthropology 380 MFAC – Ellicott Complex
Buffalo, NY 14261-0005

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