2018 Field School in Forensic Anthropology and Bioarchaeology

This listing expired on May 30, 2018. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Amherst, MA, US

Season: May 21, 2018 to June 29, 2018

Session Dates: May 21 - June 29, 2018 (Class will run M-F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with no class on Memorial Day)

Application Deadline: March 19, 2018

Deadline Type: Contact for details


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Project Director:
Dr. Ventura Pérez

Project Description:

This course introduces students to the role of the biological anthropologist, archaeologist and forensic scientist in excavations of human remains.

The course will be divided into three units. 

  1. The first unit will introduce students to field and laboratory techniques, including familiarity with the human skeletal system, recognizing what constitutes bioarchaeological or forensic data, and violence theory. 
  2. The second section consists of the students entering the field to gain hands-on experience. Excavations are of a pseudo-crime scene and pseudo-archaeological burial, and helps the students develop knowledge through the “Low Stakes, High Impact” learning model.. 
  3. The third unit will focus on laboratory techniques used to analyze the data generated from these two excavation sites.

Students will leave the course with hands-on experience in excavating human remains and associated archaeological materials, critically analyzing and engaging with osteological data, writing field summaries and site reports, and presenting research findings. In addition, we will explore key concepts in ethics, repatriation, medicolegal death investigation and regulations regarding unmarked burials.

Applications and more information are available on our website.

This course introduces students to the role of the biological anthropologist, archaeologist and forensic scientist in excavations of human remains. Students gain insight and experience working with professionals in various fields, participate in mock excavations, examine the ethics surrounding the excavation of human remains, and learn current research methodologies, including but not limited to microscopy, GIS, macroscopic analysis, material culture analysis, and more.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 6 weeks

Experience Required: We encourage both academic and non-academic applicants! We've had non-traditional students, former military members, artists with archaeology backgrounds, and traditional students from many different institutions across the country enroll in the past seasons.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Must be arranged by participant. Instructor will provide information for on-campus summer housing at UMass Amherst and links to housing within the area.  Cost: 6 credits, $500 per credit

Academic Credit:
6 credits credits offered by University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tuition is $500/credit.

Contact Information:

Adam Zimmer

Department of Anthropology, 217 Machmer Hall, 240 Hicks Way





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