May 30, 2006

Archaeology field school starts June 12

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Aspiring archaeologists will dig for answers during the annual Field School in Archaeology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Each year, SIUC's Center for Archaeological Investigations in collaboration with the University's anthropology department offers an eight-week field school in archaeology. This year's program runs from June 12 through Aug. 4.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend any of the sessions. To schedule an interview, contact Paul D. Welch at 618/453-4740.


"We need to train future generations of archaeologists and that's why we do this," said Paul D. Welch, director of the program and associate professor of anthropology.

Participants will excavate the Kincaid site, a Mississippian mound center in Massac County. The University of Chicago first investigated the site from 1934 to 1944, but the project received little attention until a recent push by SIUC scientists.

"The reason I get a kick out of working at this archaeological site is because it's got a great deal of cachet," said Welch. "A generation of people who became famous archeologists went there. It's really interesting to work at a site with that kind of history of investigating at it."

The course offers full-time instruction in archaeological method and theory with a special emphasis on basic field and laboratory techniques. Fieldwork will include a site survey and excavations on the Kincaid site. Students will focus on the palisade, or cliff, on the western side of the site, with excavations designed to confirm the palisade's location and construction history.

Welch encourages students to choose the profession. "We need more archaeologists because federal and state laws require archaeological investigations before state and federal construction projects can begin and so we need to train people to do that and do it well."

Additional information is available at or by calling 618/453-4470.

Enhancing the culture of research is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.