UMass Field School in Archaeology at the Emily Dickinson Museum

This listing expired on May 31, 2018. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Amherst, MA, US

Season: May 29, 2018 to June 30, 2018

Application Deadline: May 1, 2018

Deadline Type: Contact for details


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

UMass Archaeological Services; UMass Amherst Department of Anthropology; UMass Division of Continuing and Professional Education; The Emily Dickinson Museum

Project Director:
Eric Johnson, Director UMass Archaeological Services; Julie Woods, Lab Supervisor, UMass Archaeological Services

Project Description:

  In 2018 Archaeological Services at the University of Massachusetts will again offer a Summer Field School in Historical Archaeology at the Emily Dickinson Museum, home of the renowned poet in Amherst, Massachusetts. Students will learn and practice the fundamental skills of archaeological field and laboratory research under the direction of both academically oriented archaeologists and experienced cultural resource management professionals.
  Last year’s Field School was exciting, interesting, and fun. We began our program of research into Emily’s gardens, much of which are now covered with lawn. Student’s were joined by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in using in-field flotation to extract samples for botanical analysis. Our goal is to identify the remains of plants that once grew in the gardens. We also began looking for buried paths, water pipes, bed borders, and other garden infrastructure. We also continued our quest to delineate the archaeological footprint of the former barn, and identify different activity areas within and around it. The 2018 Field School will continue these investigations. Through their research, students will assist the museum in reconstructing the historic landscape and the history of land use at the site from ancient times through the 20th Century, with an emphasis on the period of Emily Dickinson’s residence there. More generally, the Field School contributes to ongoing research on the history and anthropology of the Connecticut River Valley as part of the University’s longstanding archaeological research program begun in the 1970s.
  This summer’s Field School will also continue outdoor pen field lab. Students will learn artifact processing, identification, and cataloging. The lab is open to the public, and students will have an opportunity to discuss their work with interested visitors. In addition to excavation and artifact processing, the schedule will include discussions of assigned readings, guest speakers, and field trips to nearby museums and other excavations. Students will also learn and practice how archaeological research is presented and communicated to the public by giving tours of the excavation site to visitors.
  Over the past few seasons, several of our Field School graduates have found paid employment with Archaeological Services or other cultural resource management organizations. Since the course is finished by the end of June, students have the rest of the summer to work, travel, or both.
-Field School students earn 6 academic credits—the equivalent of two classes in five weeks.
-Cost of the Field School is $3,000. This is a very reasonable price for a field school.
-The course runs for five weeks, from May 29 through June 30. This schedule allows students the remainder of the summer for work, travel, etc.
-Class begins at 8AM and ends at 4:00 Tuesday through Saturday. The Dickinson Museum is within easy walking distance of much of Amherst and is convenient to bus service.
-Students are responsible for their own meals and housing. Student summer housing is widely available in Amherst, and the University also offers dormitory housing to students registered for summer classes.
-The field school is open to any interested person 18 years of age or older. You do not need to be a UMass student.
-Field School Registration is through the UMass Division of Continuing and Professional Education. -Application to the Field School is through UMass Archaeological Services. Contact Eric Johnson, Director, at
-By completing the Field School students gain the necessary experience for entry-level employment in field archaeology at most Cultural Resource Management firms.


 Application for 2018 Summer Field School

Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Anthropology 577




Date of Birth:


Home Address:



Telephone (best way to reach you):                                        email:



Current Mailing Address (if different from above):



College attending or employer:



Graduate of/year:




Academic Status: (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Grad.):



PLEASE PROVIDE A CURRENT TRANSCRIPT (an unofficial photocopy is fine)


A.     Previous Anthropology and related courses:





B.     Previous field experience, if any (location, type, dates):





C.     Other experience (e.g. archival work, surveying, lab courses, soils analysis):





D.     Other special skills (e.g. drafting, photography):

Personal Statement:  In a separate document, write a few paragraphs telling us a little about yourself and why you wish to attend the Field School.  Please tell us how archaeology fits within your course of study or current employment/interests, and discuss how this field schools fits with your future plans. If your interest in the Field School is not study or employment-related, that’s OK.


Reference: Applicants must list the name of one person who would be willing to supply a reference.  Your referee should be able to speak to your work ethic, communication skills, and academic abilities.


If your referee is a UMass Amherst Anthropology instructor, they may give the Director a verbal, rather than a written, recommendation.


Name of referee ________________________________________________________


Phone # and/or email address ______________________________________________


Other requirements: 

The field school involves occasionally strenuous physical activity. If you are accepted to the Field School we will ask you to complete a Medical Questionnaire to help us meet your needs and ensure the safety of all members of the Field School. Physical injury, though unlikely, is always a possibility when engaging in archaeological fieldwork. If accepted you will be asked to sign a Waiver of Liability and you must carry appropriate health insurance.


Applicants must be free to attend for the entire five-week session, Tuesday through Saturday, May 29 – June 30, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM.  Tuition is payable upon registration and is handled by the Division of Continuing Education, University of Massachusetts.


APPLICATIONS ARE DUE BY May 1st.  Notifications will be sent beginning May 1, at which point each applicant should send a letter/email of commitment to retain their place in the program. In previous years the deadline has been extended. You can always contact Eric Johnson to ask about this year’s deadline.


Send complete application to:  Eric S. Johnson, Director, Archaeological Services, Department of Anthropology, 240 Hicks Way, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003,  Email submissions welcome.


Questions?  Please e-mail Eric at the above address


Period(s) of Occupation: Eighteenth-early Twentieth Century

see announcement

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: no experience required

Room and Board Arrangements:
Students make their own arrangements. Summer housing is widely available in Amherst. Cost:

Academic Credit:
6 credits (two classes) credits offered by University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tuition is $3,000.

Contact Information:

Eric Johnson

Dept of Anthropology Machmer Hall 240 Hicks Way





Phone: 4135450916

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