Field Experience in Bioarchaeology in Ohio

This listing expired on June 1, 2020. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Lockbourne, OH 43137, USA

Season: June 1, 2020 to July 10, 2020

Application Deadline: April 30, 2020

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

The Institute for Research and Learning in Archaeology and Bioarchaeology

Project Director:
Giuseppe Vercellotti, Ph.D.

Project Description:

This exclusively field-based program, now in its third year, aims at familiarizing participants with the professional excavation of human remains from archaeological contexts. Participants will work side by side with professional archaeologists and bioarchaeologists in the excavations of a historic cemetery in central Ohio (HTCC). The excavation of the HTCC site is a multifaceted project with potentially important implications for reconstructing relatively unknown events in the history of the county, for shedding new light on the lives of individuals too poor to be visible in official histories, and for gaining insights on a disease that reaped millions of lives during the 19th century and that persists in the developing world today.

Period(s) of Occupation: The cemetery, located just 20 minutes away from downtown Columbus, was originally established as early as 1804 to serve as a burial ground for the local community. Due to its proximity to the Ohio-Erie canal, the site was subsequently used as a resting place for victims of the infectious disease cholera – an infection of the small intestine that killed tens of millions of people worldwide through various pandemics since 1815. The cemetery remained in use until 1859.

The field experience is designed to provide participants with first-hand experience of the archaeological and bioarchaeological field methods applied in a professional excavation. Typically, participants will work alongside researchers in a variety of activities, including survey, excavation of human remains, and documentation of findings. Given the research focus of the project, no formal lectures will be held and the didactic components of the field experience will be limited to hands-on excavation and work under the supervision of senior personnel. Excavation will take place daily, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, with a short lunch break. All participants will be required to attend a general orientation at the beginning of the program, and daily briefings in the morning prior to starting fieldwork. IRLAB does not provide meals, lodging or transportation as part of this program, and participants are expected to make their own arrangements.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Age: 18 (16+ with parental consent)

Experience Required: The program has no formal prerequisites and participants will be fully trained for all the activities they experience. The program accepts a limited number of participants and welcomes applications from undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students in archaeology, anthropology or allied disciplines from any country and institution.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Participation fees cover general excavation equipment, personnel costs, and participant insurance; a personal excavation kit will also be provided to each participant. Fees do not include lodging, meals, transportation, personal gear and equipment, or any other costs not expressly specified.

Academic Credit:
Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive a certificate of completion from IRLAB. No academic credits are offered, but IRLAB is open to working with a participants’s own institution on credit recognition for the experience. To this end, upon admission in the program, participants will need to make arrangements to enroll for independent study with an academic sponsor at their own university, who will then assign a grade based on IRLAB’s staff recommendations.

Contact Information:

David Hubin

850 Michigan Avenue




United States

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