Advanced Field School

June 11-July 22, 2023

2019 field school students excavating a Late Woodland house basin at the German Site.


The CAA’s Advanced Field School is a six-week program for students ready for an immersive, experience in Bioarchaeology or Field Archaeology in the Lower Illinois Valley.

This year, we are offering two credit options for Advanced Field School. Students may apply for credits through Illinois State University or they may apply directly to the CAA. Details on how to apply for each program are below. The application for ISU credits will open in February 2023.

Bioarchaeology & Human Osteology

The Bioarchaeology and Human Osteology track enables students to work first-hand with skeletal remains in an intensive 6-week immersion course. An important aspect of this class involves learning about skeletal analysis in a problem-oriented context that is suitable for students interested in a variety of subjects: bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology, medical and dental science or skeletal biology. The course is offered at 3 different levels (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced), each tailored to the student’s prior experience with relevant subject matter. This class allows students an exciting opportunity to study osteology, as well as to learn about the archaeology of North America. Visits to regional archaeological sites and research centers supplement the program, as do a series of lectures from archaeologists working around the globe. Students will attend daily lectures given by Dr. Jane Buikstra covering topics such as skeletal anatomy; osteological techniques for estimating age and sex; paleopathology; and genetic relatedness, among others. In addition to lectures, students will have access to skeletal study collections that facilitate learning about skeletal anatomy, analytical methods and engaging in independent research. Well-trained and knowledgeable teaching assistants also enhance the classroom and laboratory experiences.

Students in the Bioarchaeology & Human Osteology track do not participate in fieldwork.

Field Archaeology & Geophysical Survey

The Field Archaeology and Geophysical Testing track offers a unique, intensive archaeological experience for undergraduate and graduate students of all skill levels. Stationed at the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville, students gain experience in field and laboratory methods, theory and research design while engaging in problem-oriented research at the German site (11C377), a Late Woodland (ca 800-1200 CE) Jersey Bluff habitation site. Students work closely with professional archaeologists from a variety of backgrounds and institutions to help them master techniques and strategies for successful archaeological field and lab work in a variety of contexts. Field Methods students gain hands-on experience in geophysical testing, total station use, excavation and laboratory methods, including mapping, soil description, artifact and debris processing, water flotation collection and processing and curation. Practical experiences are supplemented by reading assignments and lectures by field school staff and guest lecturers.

Program Schedule & Gear Lists

Three refit sherds from the German Site.


Tuition includes room, all meals Monday-Friday, breakfast and lunch Saturday, supplies, and instruction.

  • CAA-ISU Option: TBD
  • Non-Credit Option: $4200


Students reside in Kamp Dorm, which is located above the CAA’s museum in the historic Kamp Store. Kamp Dorm includes beds, showers, restrooms, as well as a shared microwave and refrigerator. You must bring your own bedding. Our facilities are approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health, and meet the Illinois Youth Camp Act’s criteria.

Kamp Dorm is located in the historic Kamp Store that was built by J.A. Kamp in 1902.


Students should arrive on the Sunday, June 12, and depart the Saturday, July 23 after their program ends. 

The CAA can provide shuttle service to and from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport or the Alton, Illinois, Amtrak station for an additional cost.

How to Enroll

Enrollment is open to anyone 18 years or older. There are two enrollment options for the Advanced Field School.

College Credit Option through Illinois State University

Those who wish to enroll for university credit may apply for credits through Illinois State University. This program is run as a joint CAA-ISU program. The schedule, requirements, and program are the same as the non-credit option.

In order to earn ISU credits, you must apply using their application process. A link for the the CAA-ISU application will be available in February 2023. Do not use the Non-Credit Option instructions if you want to apply for ISU credits.

Non-Credit Option

This option is for those who wish to attend but do not need or wish to earn academic credit. This program does not carry academic credit; however, we will work with you if you are interested in petitioning your university/college for credit. We can supply supporting documentation and evaluation of your participation. Many of our previous students have earned credit for their participation.

The following material should be submitted to the CAA no later than May 15:

Upon receipt, we will send you a confirmation by email, a packet of additional information, and instructions for payment. Either full payment or a 30% deposit will secure your spot in the program. Payment processing occurs upon acceptance into the program.

If you have not received confirmation, we have not received your application!