University Field School

June 16-July 27, 2024


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

We are offer two credit options for University 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 enrollment and credits will open in February 2024.

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.

The German Site is a Late Woodland / Jersey Bluff Phase habitation site located on a colluvial slope in the Crawford Creek valley. The site was occupied approximately 800-1200 CE. Remote sensing results indicate several possible structures and associated features. Since 2019, we have identified three house basins and several associated storage and refuse pits. A fourth possible house basin was identified in 2023. Field school students and CAA archaeologists have recovered domestic artifacts, including chert tools, pottery, animal bone, and botanical remains during the 2019-2023 field seasons. In 2024 we will continue to excavate house basins and associated features in order to better understand Late Woodland people of the Lower Illinois Valley.

Program Schedule & Gear Lists


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

  • Illinois State University Credit Option: $4010 + Illinois State University tuition
  • 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.

The historic Kamp Store. Kamp Dorm is located upstairs.


Students should arrive on the Sunday, June 16, and depart the Saturday, July 27 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.

Please do not book travel arrangements until you have been admitted into the program and have received the full travel instructions.

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

Enrollment through ISU now open!

Those who wish to enroll for university credit may earn credits through Illinois State University (ISU). This program is run as a joint CAA-ISU program. The schedule, requirements, and program are the same as the non-credit option, however this option does include additional costs for the ISU credits.

In order to earn ISU credits, you must apply using ISU’s application process. Do not use the Non-Credit Option instructions if you want to apply for ISU credits.

Once you have enrolled and paid all fees (ISU tuition + CAA program fee), we will send additional travel, gear, and program documents.

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 ISU-CAA program is preferred option for course credits.

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!

Questions: If you have any questions, please contact the CAA at or 618-653-4316 for more information.