Archaeological Services Again Offers Summer Field School at Dickinson Museum

The 2016 Archaeological Services field school.
The 2016 Archaeological Services field school.

AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Amherst Archaeological Services will again offer a five-week summer field school in historical archaeology at the Emily Dickinson Museum, home of the renowned poet.

By completing the field school, students gain the necessary training for employment in field archaeology at most cultural resource management firms.

The field school is open to any interested person 18 years of age or older. Field school students earn 6 academic credits. You do not need to be an anthropology major.

The course runs for five weeks, from May 30 through July 1. Classes begin at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Cost of the field school is $3,000.

This will be the third consecutive year of field school excavations at the museum. Students will learn and practice the fundamentals of archaeological field and laboratory research under the direction of experienced professional archaeologists.

The field school combines research on anthropological and historical subjects such as nineteenth-century family life, gender, landscape and class relations with management-related topics like determining the precise location of outbuildings and components of Emily Dickinson’s extensive garden beds.

At last year’s field school, the Dickinson Homestead students excavated at the location of a former conservatory addition (now being reconstructed) and the site of the former barn.

After completing the field school, several students found paid employment with Archaeological Services or other cultural resource management organizations.

The 2017 field school will continue investigation in the barn area with the goal of confirming the building’s precise location and dimensions and identifying different activity areas within and around the barn. We will also begin exploring the open area to the east of the homestead with the goal of identifying evidence of earlier landscape and garden features.

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 through observing and eventually leading tours of the excavation site to visitors.

Application materials are availavle online at or by contacting Eric Johnson, director, at Field school registration is through the Division of Continuing and Professional Education.