In 2005 we launched our first AERA-ARCE Archaeological Field School to train inspectors from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities (MoA) in advanced excavation techniques and archaeological material culture analysis. We have now taught seventeen field schools and many of our students have gone on to become teachers themselves. Young Egyptian archaeologists continue to come from all over Egypt to further their education and work closely with our professional archaeologists and specialists.
Our field schools in Egypt are made possible in part due to the generous support of our members and donors. Become a member now to help us train the next generation of Egyptian archaeologists!
The AERA-ARCE Field School Program
Our field school has evolved into four progressive sessions:
Analysis & Publication
Basic skills Osteo Archaeology Rescue Archaeology Report Writing Arch-Sci Lab Survey and Mapping Strategy Graphics Prep. Osteology intro Arch. Illustration Sampling Publishing Osteology Survey intro Ceramics Archive Publishing Ceramics Ceramics intro Advanced Excavation Lecture prep. training
Beginners Field School
Beginners Field School sessions generally take place in the controlled environment of the excavations in the AERA concession at Giza. In addition to teaching basic skills in excavation and recording of archaeological sites, the Beginners Field School offers:
- One-week field lab training in the analysis of: archaeobotany (plant remains), archaeozoology (animal bones), osteology (human bones), ceramics, and lithics (stone tools)
- One-week excavation of human remains
- Introduction to archaeological illustration
- Introduction to survey and mapping
Advanced Field School
Advanced Field School sessions also take place as part of AERA’s controlled research within our concession at Giza. Smaller groups allow for more in-depth training in the concentrations. Our aim is to give an overview of techniques for studying material culture and to introduce basic sampling procedures for collecting material in the field.
Students take advanced instruction in one of the following concentrations:
- Survey and Mapping
- Archaeological Illustration
- Osteology (human remains)
- Excavation and recording
Salvage Archaeology Field School (SAFS)
Whereas the Beginners and Advanced Field Schools are in a controlled environment, the SAFS takes archaeological training into the real world of urgent rescue archaeology, usually in an urban setting. Graduates of both the Beginner and Advanced Field Schools teach in SAFS, along with professional contract archaeologists experienced in rescue archaeology around the world.
The first SAFS in 2008 was the largest archaeological mission in Egypt at that time and emphasized basics of standard modern archaeological practice. Within the curriculum, students were taught surveying, systematic excavation and recording, retrieval and analysis of materials, storage of data and report preparation. The twelve-week program consisted of seven weeks of fieldwork, one full week of laboratory tutorials and three weeks dedicated to writing a report.
Analysis and Publication Field School (APFS)
Without written documentation information is still not fully salvaged, even after systemic excavation and recording. The APFS teaches students the preparation of reports for publication and how by publishing, we conserve information from excavations. Each APFS student chooses a program and is taught skills such as preparing, plotting and drafting maps, archaeological illustrations, photo editing and writing season reports.
The eight-week intensive program includes:
- Writing preliminary excavation reports for publication
- Osteo-archaeology analysis and report writing
- Ceramics reports for publication
- Archaeological illustration, graphics and layout for publication
- Incorporating into reports for publication zooarchaeology (faunal) and archaeobotany (floral) analyses
Our first field school publication, Settlement and Cemetery at Giza: Papers from the 2010 AERA-ARCE Field School is available to download as a free PDF.
We have also published our ceramic field school manual, the four-volume A Manual of Egyptian Pottery by Dr. Anna Wodzinska. This four-book set covers all Egyptian pottery, ranging from the earliest (Fayum A) ceramics to pottery made in Egypt today, organized by historical periods. The manuals are quick identification guides as well as starting points for more extensive research. PDF copies can be downloaded online for free and print copies can be purchased from ISD.
AERA’s Field School is made possible by support from the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) and funding from USAID, The Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, and our members and donors. Thank you!