2024 US (PA): Underwater Cultural Resource Management at Lake Erie

Location: Erie, PA, USA

Season: July 1, 2024 to August 10, 2024

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Deadline Type: Exact Date


Discount for AIA members: No

Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Texas A&M University; Seneca Nation of Indians and Center for Field Sciences

Project Director:
Dr. Ben Ford – Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Jessi Halligan – Associate Professor of Anthropology, Texas A&M University & Dr. Joe Stahlman – Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Seneca Nation of Indians

Project Description:

Cultural Resource Management, the legally required management and protection of our shared heritage, requires archaeologists to do more than just archaeology. CRM requires an understanding of legal frameworks, professional ethics, consultation, and project management. Conducting CRM in an underwater environment also requires specialized skills in marine remote sensing, landscape reconstruction, and, occasionally, SCUBA diving. This field school teaches the skills of underwater Cultural Resource Management through research on the submerged landscapes of Lake Erie. This program will not focus on shipwrecks (the more academic side of marine archaeology) but on understanding submerged landscape as this is the mainstay of Marine CRM work and where the greatest need for trained marine CRM professionals is. The skills taught in this course are similar to those employed in CRM to identify sites prior to offshore energy (wind, oil, and gas) development. This course is appropriate for students interested in both Cultural Resource Management and traditional academic archaeology in an underwater environment.

Until approximately 4,000 years ago, Lake Erie was lower than it is today, leaving large swaths of the modern lake bottom open for habitation. During earlier times, the lake basin contained two smaller lakes connected by a wetland and stream. This mixture of environments would have been attractive to humans, and the quick filling of the basin likely preserved sites in situ. By combining marine remote sensing, geoarchaeology, and Indigenous knowledge, we will identify areas on the lake floor that likely contain submerged habitation sites.

Period(s) of Occupation: Prehistory

Tuition: $4,810. Tuition covers full cost of instruction,accomedations and transportation. Students are responsible for their own meals. 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Credit Units) are awarded through our School of Record – Culver Stockton College. A SCUBA certification course will be offered the week prior to the field school for students who do not possess a certification

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full session

Minimum Age: 18 Years Old

Experience Required: Students need basic SCUBA certification from a nationally recognized organization. Students are required to have medical clearance to dive signed by a doctor. A SCUBA certification course will be offered the week prior to the field school for students who do not possess a certification. This is hands-on, experiential learning and students will study on-site how to conduct archaeological research. Field work involves physical work and exposure to the elements and thus requires a measure of understanding that this will not be the typical university learning environment. You will have to work outdoors and will get sweaty and tired. Students are required to come equipped with sufficient excitement and an adequate understanding that fieldwork requires real, hard work, in the sun and wind. The work requires patience, discipline, and attention to detail.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Accommodation will be in the Gannon University student suites. These are suite-style dormitory rooms consisting of individual bedrooms with semi-private bathrooms and shared kitchens and communal space. This program provide accomedations only. Students are responsible for their own meals.

Academic Credit:
8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Credit Units) are awarded through our School of Record – Culver Stockton College.

Contact Information:

CFS Admissions

11209 National Blvd #137

Los Angeles




Phone: (562) 584-0761

support Us

The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.

Post a Fieldwork Opportunity