Research Experiences for Undergraduates

NSF-REU Site: Long-term Perspectives on Human-River Dynamics at the Confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers

REU and ASU Field Students, 2018

June 9-August 3, 2019

The Center for American Archeology is proud to announce Year 3 of our National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU, Award #1460787) program at the Center for American Archeology, Kampsville, IL. The NSF-REU program at the CAA provides undergraduates with interdisciplinary research experiences in archaeology, paleoethnobotany, and ethnography. Students will engage in archaeological, archaeobotanical, and ethnological research to investigate human-plant interactions across the approximately 10,000 years of human occupation of the Illinois Valley. The archaeological and paleoenthobotanical components of the program will address human-plant interactions recorded in the archaeological record. Historic and modern human-plant interactions will be addressed through ethnographic and historic research among farming communities in the region. Students will complete a research project during the course of the program which will be presented to the public and scientific community.

We are seeking 10 students for this program. All participants receive:

  • a weekly stipend of $400,
  • room,
  • board (M-F, breakfast Saturday),
  • and travel funds to participate in the 2019 Midwest Archaeological Conference.

This program is open to undergraduate students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year in 2019. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students graduating in Spring or Summer 2018 are not eligible. Applicants should have in interest in archaeology, paleoethnobotany, botany, ethnology, and related sciences. 


Weeks 1-4: Students learn archaeological and anthropology theory and methods, and will be introduced to the history, archaeology, and environment of the Illinois River Valley. Students participate in archaeological excavation and geophysical survey, laboratory work, and topical lectures during this portion of the program.

Weeks 5-7: Students focus on paleoethnobotany and ethnology, theory, methods, and data, including field and laboratory-based paleoethnobotanical activities and participant observation.

Week 8: During the final week, students focus on completion of their research projects, which culminates in presentation to the public. Students will also present their research at the 2019 Midwest Archaeological Conference, Mankato, MN (October 10-12, 2019)


The 2019 REU program will be held at the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville, IL. Students will reside in CAA dormitories. Laboratory and classroom activities will be held at CAA facilities. Fieldwork will be conducted at the Golden Eagle site (11GE7), the only precontact site with an enclosing embankment in the Illinois River Valley.

How to Apply

All applicants must submit the following material to be considered for the program:

  • CAA NSF-REU 2019 Application,
  • statement of interest that describes your interest in the program, career goals, and how participation in this program will benefit you,
  • unofficial transcripts from your current institution,
  • and two letters of recommendation from references familiar with you as a student

Applications should be submitted to the CAA via email ( or by mail to:

Center for American Archeology
PO Box 366
Kampsville, IL 62053

Letters of recommendation should be sent by your recommender directly to the CAA either by email or mail. 

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The application deadline is Sunday, April 14, 2019 by midnight CST. We anticipate that students will be notified of their selection status by May 15, 2019.

Program Faculty

  • Jane E. Buikstra, PhD (PI, CAA; Arizona State University)
  • Andrew Flachs, PhD (Purdue University)
  • Jason L. King, PhD (CAA)
  • Jake Lulewicz, PhD (Washington University in St. Louis)
  • Natalie Mueller, PhD (Washington University in St. Louis)