ARCHY 270 A: Field Course In Archaeology

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
to be arranged
* *
Sara L. Gonzalez
Sara L. Gonzalez

Syllabus Description:

Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology is a community-based participatory research project that involves the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon (CTGR) Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) and the University of Washington. The CTGR THPO is responsible for a variety of tasks related to the care and management of tribal cultural resources. These resources are integral to tribal heritage and include archaeological and ancestral sites, sacred places, and other traditional cultural landscapes. The overarching goal of our collaboration is to contribute to the capacity of the CTGR THPO to manage tribal heritage on the Grand Ronde reservation, which is located in western Oregon, approximately 60 miles SW Portland.

Working with and alongside the THPO we will begin work on two related projects: 1) the survey of mid nineteenth century settlements on the reservation landscape and 2) the study of the Grand Ronde School, a historic property on the reservation.  The projects you are working on comprise a long-term study of the Grand Ronde reservation and management of tribal heritage by the CTGR Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

This field school is directed by Prof. Sara Gonzalez (University of Washington) and assisted by Dave Harrelson (THPO), Briece Edwards (CTGR, Principal Archaeologist), and Ian Kretzler (University of Washington, course TA).

FMIA Schedule:

June 20th-June 24th               Orientation and Introduction to Field Methods

June 27th-July 1st                   Site Survey and Mapping (Indian Agency Encampments and Schoolhouse)

July 4th- July 8th                     Site Survey and Mapping (Indian Agency Encampments and Schoolhouse)

July 11th-July 15th                 Excavations (Schoolhouse) and Lab Work

July 18th-July 22nd                 Final documentation, excavation, and lab work

July 25th–July 30th                 ODOT Training and Final documentation (UW)

Aug 2nd -Aug 5th                    Post-Processing and Project Symposium (UW)

Emergency Information:

In case of emergency only, please contact Prof. Sara Gonzalez: (510) 495-4172 (cell) or the Grand Ronde Tribal Historic Preservation Office: (503) 879-1630

In case of an emergency where your parent needs to contact you, please have them call me and/or leave a message with the Grand Ronde THPO. Remember though that these numbers are only to be used in case of emergencies. (As a side note, please make sure you check-in at home regularly!)

Important Addresses:

Uyxat Powwow Grounds

Hebo Rd.

Willamina, OR 97396

Grand Ronde THPO

8820 Grand Ronde Rd.

Grand Ronde, OR 97347

Historical Archaeology Lab

511b Condon Hall

University of Washington



Course Readings:

Click here to access readings for the field school.  Please complete the readings by the assigned date.


Your grade in this course is based on three components:

Field Notebook - 35%

While in the field archaeologists are expected to take careful and clear notes about all aspects of their research. These notes complement official survey and excavation forms, providing daily, personal accounts of the research process, including what was found, what problems were encountered, and how they were resolved. You will be expected to keep a field notebook and add to it on a daily basis. You will turn in your field notebook every Friday and receive feedback the following Monday about how to improve your field note taking. 

Participation - 25%

Archaeological projects are inherently collaborative endeavors, requiring participation from many different people throughout the research process. As a student in Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology, you will be expected to be a contributing member of the research team. This means being ready for morning lectures / field work on time, working well with your peers, helping keep camp clean and tidy, and giving your full effort to complete (often strenuous and dirty) tasks each day.

Leadership Project - 25%

FMIA is part of a community-based partnership between UW and the CTGR THPO. The primary goal of this project is focused on capacity building, that is developing the capacity of the THPO to manage tribal cultural resources. As a student partner in this research you will take on a leadership project that contributes to the capacity of the Grand Ronde THPO. Your leadership project will begin in the third week of the field school and be completed by the end of the course (Aug. 5th). Past leadership projects  include setting up / leading community workshops, contributing extra blog posts (see below), managing the project Facebook page, leading site tours, assisting with drone photography and videography, working with spatial data in GIS, yaking a lead role in lab artifact analysis, among others. More details about  leadership projects will be provided as the course progresses. In total, your leadership project is worth 25% of your participation grade.

Blog posts - 15%

Archaeologists today increasingly engage in public scholarship, communicating their findings in clear, accessible prose and demonstrating the relevance of their work to modern society. In this course, you will be expected to contribute four posts (each approximately 300-400 words long) to the course blog. The list of blog assignments will be provided to you in the first week of the course. In summary, your posts consist of: an introductory "about me" post, 2 free-write posts, and a final summary post that presents the results of your leadership project.

Course Expectations:

All students of Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology are expected to help cultivate a safe, supportive learning and camp environment. This means being a positive member of the field team (as discussed above).

As indicated during our info meetings and one-on-one interviews, we will be working for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and living on their reservation. We adhere to a zero-tolerance policy for all drugs and alcohol. No alcohol or illegal drugs are allowed on the Grand Ronde reservation. Also remember that the cultural materials and archaeological sites that we are working with are sacred to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Any person working with these materials and in these areas must have a clear mind and a clean body, which means you cannot drink alcohol or use illegal drugs before working with cultural materials from these sites. Abuse of this rule will result in immediate dismissal from the field school and project.

Students should also be aware that attitudes of community members toward archaeological sites and artifacts may differ from your own. Some participants in this project or cultural advisors may not view or handle certain materials and/or take extra steps to protect themselves during the research process. These beliefs and actions should be respected at all times. 

Catalog Description: 
Introduction to field acquisition of archaeological data through survey and excavation. On-going field projects; recovery and recording techniques.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:00pm