Rochester Faculty Led: Archaeology Field School - Smiths Island, Bermuda
Now entering its seventh season, the Smiths Island Archaeology Field School
has trained dozens of students in excavation and research methods and prepared them for graduate study. Besides investigating a variety of 17th and 18th-century sites ranging from a 400-year old early settlers’ house to a quarantine hospital, students learn about the early Modern Atlantic World from an island at its center. Students are involved in all aspects of fieldwork, including excavation, artifact identification, documentary research, mapping, photography, and 3D digital modeling. Through readings, exploration, tours of local sites and even an experimental archeology practicum, students will learn about Bermuda’s extensive history and the process of Americanization. During the 2018 season, we will extend excavations near Oven Site (c. 1615) to find the main manor house, continue digging a military and civilian quarantine site, and survey the island’s western bay to find new sites.
Prior archaeological experience or knowledge of early American history is not required!
We will stay in Block House, an 18th-century building located at the center of St. George’s. Housing and food are included in the program cost, but students may have to cook their own meals. Bermuda is very expensive: most food is imported and rents are very high. There will be a certain element of “roughing it” to keep the field school affordable. That said, you will be living in the oldest town in English America and a short walk away from four beaches.
Most students enroll in HIS 299 (Field and Research Methods in Archaeology)
and earn 4 University of Rochester credits. Students with prior archaeological field experience can take HIS 398 (Advanced Field Methods)
. These courses can satisfy requirements in the UR Archaeology, Technology and Historic Structures program or be used toward history or anthropology majors. Graduate Students can get 5 credits for taking HIS 498 Archaeology Field & Research Methods
for the same program fee.
We will spend four weeks excavating sites on 60-acre Smiths Island, located in St. George’s Harbour, and will commute to work daily by boat. Work will be physically demanding. Because the island is heavily overgrown, this field school may not be suitable for students highly allergic to poison ivy. Work will include a blend of field excavation and artifact processing and analysis. On rain days, we will conduct primary research in the Bermuda Archives in Hamilton (Bermuda’s capital). We may also snorkel over nearby bays and shipwreck sites to look for evidence of shipbuilding. The work, in short, will be hard but intellectually rewarding.
There are no prerequisites
Department of History
Rush Rhees 364
University of Rochester
The total program fee (including tuition) for 2018 is $4,250 plus airfare to Bermuda but includes housing, food, transportation, and field trips within Bermuda
NEW for 2018: UR students can get a grant up to $500 for airfare.
Letter of Recommendation: Please list the name, department, title, and email of a professor willing to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Also arrange to have this person send this letter directly to MICHAEL JARVIS at the address or email above.
Archaeology has little to do with Indiana Jones or Lara Croft and is hardly the romantic action-packed enterprise that movies present. This field school will be both physically and mentally challenging and involve meticulous attention to detail in the archives, field, and lab. Please attach an academic resume and a statement (500 words) relating why you want to participate in this project and what you hope to learn.
Scholarships for UR Faculty Education Abroad Programs
University of Rochester students may be eligible to receive a scholarship for this Program. Read the Scholarships document in your Learning Content for details.
There are many scholarships and funding sources, both need and merit-based, for education abroad, and we encourage you to apply. Visit our Scholarships page
for more information.
Do not wait until the last minute to research what you may be eligible for, as scholarships are competitive, and will not be awarded for poorly-written applications. Scholarships for short-term and summer programs, and for international students, are limited, so it’s especially important to begin looking for scholarships sooner, rather than later.
Applications may require a copy of your official transcript, essays or personal statement, letters of recommendation, and financial aid information.
Note that RIG
funding may be applicable to education abroad.