UMass Anthropology Field Schools

The Department of Anthropology currently runs a summer bio-archaeological field school in Western Massachusetts:

Information for Summer 2024


May 21 – July 3, 2024
(Class will run M-F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with no class on Memorial Day & Juneteenth) 

Dr. Ventura Pérez, Director

Dr. Sarah Reedy, Program Faculty
$500/credit @ 6 credits 


Course Description:
This course introduces students to the role of the biological anthropologist, archaeologist and forensic scientist in excavations of human remains. This field school is particularly unique because we work in collaboration with the UMass Chan Medical School’s Division of Translational Anatomy and Anatomical Gift Program. Students will also receive lectures from experts in political science, federal Indian law, historical archaeology, the US State Department, and law enforcement.    

The course will be divided into three units. The first unit will introduce students to field and laboratory techniques, including osteology, recognizing what constitutes bioarchaeological or forensic data, and violence theory. Students will participate in lectures and lab exercises at both UMass Amherst and at the UMass Chan Medical School. The second unit will consist of excavations of a pseudo-crime scene and pseudo-archaeological burial. The third unit will focus on laboratory techniques used to analyze the biological profile and write the lab report of the two excavation sites, as well as the design and build of the following year’s burial sites. Throughout the course we will explore key concepts in ethics, violence theory, socio-cultural constructs left on the body, repatriation, medicolegal death investigation and regulations regarding unmarked burials. 

Enrollment is by permission of the instructor. Students wishing to enroll must apply by April 12, 2024 to: 

Dr. Ventura Pérez
Department of Anthropology
217 Machmer Hall, 240 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003 

Application Form

Email applications are accepted: