Palaeolithic Archaeology Field School in Vietnam

This listing expired on March 13, 2022. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Vietnam

Season: June 21, 2022 to July 20, 2022

Application Deadline: March 1, 2022

Deadline Type: Exact Date


Discount for AIA members: No

Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

University of Washington

Project Director:
Ben Marwick and Jennifer Zovar

Project Description:

The aim of this study abroad experience is to give students an opportunity to earn 12 credits by participating in an archaeological field school. We will have a structured program of learning and practicing advanced, hands-on archaeological skills in a remote Southeast Asian field setting. The research aims of the field school are to contribute to the understanding of the earliest human dispersals into the Eastern hemisphere by testing hypotheses about the chronology, technology and substance of human occupants of the Thahn Sa Valley in northern Vietnam. Our pilot research in this valley has found some of the earliest artefacts in Southeast Asia, and we expect to find more during this field school. We aim to teach students practical and theoretical details of detailed site recording and collection and excavation that will be useful for a career in North American Cultural Resource Management. We will also teach post-fieldwork skills such as artefact analysis, reporting and curation of data. We aim to combine teaching and practical experience in archaeological science. The field school is part of a long term archaeological project directed by Ben Marwick with his international collaborators. We will work side-by-side with archaeologists from the Vietnamese Institute of Archaeology, and with faculty and students from Whatcom Community College (Bellingham, WA).

Period(s) of Occupation: Palaeolithic

We welcome undergraduate students from any major and any standing. Students who are open to new and unfamiliar experiences will find this program especially fulfilling. An enthusiasm for experiencing the simple, rural village life of remote northern Vietnam will be an advantage. Our fieldwork activities will require some physical exertion in warm and humid conditions, so this experience will be most fulfilling for students who are comfortable being outdoors for extended periods, don't mind getting dirty, and can endure some physical challenges with a positive attitude. We will be working closely with Vietnamese colleagues, so students should be willing to learn collaborative approaches to solving problems and be able to tolerate ambiguity in the schedule with good humour. Students with an openness to, and tolerance for, cultural and culinary differences and challenging outdoor working conditions will enjoy this experience. There are no academic prerequisites. Some prior formal study of archaeology and anthropology will be a great advantage, but are not required. The program requires students to be moderately physically active, outdoors, in warm and humid conditions, for long periods of time. Archaeological survey requires careful walking over rough ground, up and down hills, moving through dense vegetation, and wading through small streams. Archaeological excavation requires physical agility and physical flexibility to work safely in confined spaces, scale steps and ladders, safely operate hand tools, and safely handle buckets of sediment. An ability to do all of this in warm and humid conditions, and with good humour and a collaborative spirit, is vital.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: full duration

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: Some undergraduate studies in any subject.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Groups in family home stay, included in fee

Academic Credit:
12 credits of ARCHY 270 at the University of Washington (quarter system)

Contact Information:

Ben Marwick

Department of Anthropology




United States

Phone: (206) 552-9450

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