High School Field School

Cancelled: June 14-July 11, 2020

COVID-19 Update (1 May 2020)

Due to the ongoing COVI9-19 pandemic, all CAA programs through 31 August 2020 have been cancelled. We are still accepting enrollments for Fall 2020 programs.

High School Field School is your opportunity to be an archaeologist. Join our summer field crew and participate in real archaeological research alongside professional archaeologists. You will learn how to do fieldwork, laboratory work, identify artifacts, and more with professional archaeologists as we investigate the German site.

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

The German Site (11C377)

The German Site is a Late Woodland / Jersey Bluff Phase habitation site located on a colluvial slope in the Crawford Creek valley. It was occupied approximately 800-1200 CE. Geophysical survey results indicate several possible structures and associated features. One of the house basins and nearby features were excavated during the 2019 season. Excavators recovered domestic artifacts, including chert tools, pottery, animal bone, and botanical remains. In 2020 we will continue to excavate house basins and associated features in order to better understand Late Woodland people of the Lower Illinois Valley.

Left: German site magnetic survey results. Right: Sq 1, one of four 1×2 m units excavated into the house basin in 2019.


Students 13-17 may enroll for one to four weeks. Weeks enrolled need not be consecutive. No experience is necessary. High school seniors may enroll, but graduated seniors should enroll in the Adult Field School.

  • Week 1: June 14-20
  • Week 2: June 21-27
  • Week 3: June 28-July 4
  • Week 4: July 4-11

While in Kampsville, students participate in field and laboratory work with CAA archaeologists. Students learn excavation techniques, including shoveling, troweling, mapping, measuring, soil description, and flotation sampling. Lab work includes artifact washing, identification, and flotation. These activities are supplemented by occasional evening lectures by CAA archaeologists and guest archaeologists on various archaeological topics. Evening activities may include hikes and activities related to prehistoric lifeways. The day usually begins at 7 am with breakfast and ends by 9 pm.

Please see the High School Field School Schedule and Gear List for program details. 

Students staying for more than one week can do laundry, visit local cultural sites, and relax on the weekends. Weekends are fully supervised. While we do not have regular food service on the weekends, breakfast and lunch foods are available. We cook out or eat at a local restaurant for dinner. Students should bring spending money.

Students should arrive on the Sunday and depart the Saturday after their program ends. 

Parents are responsible for arranging their child’s transportation to and from Kampsville. Shuttle service from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (St. Louis, MO) or the Alton, Illinois Amtrak station is available for an additional cost.

Three refit sherds from the German Site.


Tuition includes room, all meals Monday through Friday, supplies, and instruction. Students may enroll for any number and combination of weeks.

  • 1 Week: $850
  • 2 Weeks: $1675
  • 3 Weeks: $2500
  • 4 Weeks: $3300

Scholarship support for girls is available through our Women in Archeology Scholarship program. (Women in Archeology Scholarship applications will be available mid November 2019.)

Scholarships are also available to all through our Kampsville Legacy Scholarship program.

Residents of Calhoun, Pike, Greene, and Jersey counties receive a 10% discount on tuition.


Students stay in one of the CAA’s dormitories while in residence. Dormitories are basic, bunkhouse-style living facilities without TV or internet. Rooms are at minimum double occupancy. The total number of roommates is based on program enrollment, with a maximum occupancy of four. Boys and girls have separate sections of our dormitory, with a monitored door dividing the sections. Separate shower and restroom facilities are provided. Adult chaperones are on duty 24/7. Our facilities are approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health, and meet the Illinois Youth Camp Act’s criteria.

How to Enroll

Download, complete, and return the 2020 HSFS Application.

If you applying for a scholarship, please include that application as well.

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. Scholarship applicants should not send a deposit with their registration forms.

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

Registration for the program closes one week prior to the start of each session. 

Enrollment is limited to 18 students per week.

Credit Options for High School Field School

High School Academic Credit

Many students have received credit through their high school for participation in our program. Our staff will work with the guidance/academic counselor at your school to meet the school’s credit criteria. Contact us for details. Please note that students may apply for Lewis & Clark Community College credits.

College Credit Option

Through our partnership with Lewis & Clark Community College, Godfrey, Illinois, we are able to offer 2 credit hours for students. The following options are available:

  • One Week Program: To earn 2 credit hours, students who enroll in one week of High School Field School will need to complete a small project during your time with us. There are many different project options!
  • Two or Three Week Program: To earn 2 credit hours, students will have to enroll in two or three weeks of High School Field School program. Because students will be involved with the program for two, three, or four weeks, no project is required.

Grading/Evaluation: Students are evaluated on his/her performance in the program and, if applicable, the quality of the research project. To receive a positive evaluation, students must participate in all aspects of the program: field excavation, laboratory work, and supplemental sessions. They must also demonstrate a positive attitude, good work ethic, motivation to learn, and willingness to work collaboratively with staff and fellow students.

Registration Process: Registration for college credit will occur the first day of the field school at the Center for American Archaeology. A representative from the Lewis & Clark Community College’s Tri-County Community Education Center will be available to register interested and qualified students in Anthropology (ANTH) 265 – Archaeology in the Field. For more information about Lewis & Clark Community College can be found on their web page: www.lc.edu.

If you have any questions, please contact the CAA at education@caa-archeology.org or 618-653-4316 for more information.