Field Schools


Attending a field school is an important step in the training and professionalization of any archaeologist.  The logistics and expectations of many field schools can inherently exclude many queer students –  from toxic masculine ideals, to living arrangements, to the challenges of being in a new locale.  These prevent many from entering the professional world of archaeology,  and reinforces the heteropatriarchy within the field.

The purpose of this page is to connect queer students in archaeology with field schools that have taken care to consider the needs of a diverse groups of students.

Students: Please see the list below to find more information on individual field schools.

*Please note, inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by the editors at Queer Archaeology.  All information has been provided by the field schools and has not been vetted.*

Field school directors: If you would like your field school to be included in this list, please fill out the online Field School Information Form.

P.S: We have sent this form to several archaeology mailing lists. Feel free to share the form so we can reach as many field schools as we can.


UMass Amherst Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology Field School

This UMass Amherst field course introduces students to the role of the biological anthropologist, archaeologist, and forensic scientist in the excavation of human remains.

The course is divided into three sections:

The first introduces students to field and laboratory techniques. Topics include: understanding the human skeletal system, pathology and taphonomic analysis, discussion of what constitutes bioarchaeological or forensic data, and the role of violence theory in these fields.

The second section consists of the students entering the field to gain hands-on experience. Excavations are of a pseudo-crime scene and pseudo-archaeological burial, and helps the students develop knowledge through the “Low Stakes, High Impact” learning model.

The final section focuses on the laboratory techniques used to analyze the data generated from two pseudo-excavation sites. Throughout the course we explore key concepts in ethics, repatriation, public outreach, medico-legal death investigation, and regulations regarding unmarked burials.

Through excavation and lab analysis this field school addresses three major questions in the fields of bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology: What constitutes data in these fields? How are excavations and fieldwork done? How do you analyze field data in the laboratory? In addition, students will learn how professionals work in the field, examine ethical issues and guidelines, and explore questions of what constitutes violence and how we recognize evidence of violence on human remains and material objects.

The lead instructor is a queer archaeologist himself who is actively involved with LGBTQ+ issues in academia and in the community. Queer theory readings in both archaeology and science are incorporated as a part of the field school syllabus. In addition, the field school is held on the UMass Amherst campus with University Health Services staff specifically trained in trans and queer health issues, including mental health care, primary care, and hormone therapy.

Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policies:

As a part of the UMass Amherst campus, the field school strictly follows the university’s non-discrimination policies, and policies on sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.

Gender Neutral Facilities: 

The course is divided into classroom and field portions. The classroom building has designated gender neutral bathrooms. Arrangements can be made for field bathrooms on an individual basis. Should students choose to live on campus for the duration of the field school, they can request gender inclusive bathrooms which are available in all suites and apartments when applying for summer session housing.

Additional Information: 

This field school is held in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, which has a long history of LGBTQ+ inclusion and the immediate communities of Amherst and Northampton have a robust queer community.

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PIARA Archaeological Field School

  • Director: Rebecca Bria
  • Contact:
  • University Affiliation: Universidad Nacional de Ancash
  • Field School Location: Hualcayan, highland Ancash, Peru
  • Field School Dates: Session 1: June 25 – July 23, 2018, Session 2: July 24 – August 21, 2018
  • For More Information:

Our students focus their studies on a particular analytical specialty in addition to gaining experience in fundamental field and laboratory skills. In particular, students will excavate monumental tombs and ritual spaces at Hualcayán, then focus their studies on one of the following methodological concentrations: Bioarchaeology or Artifact Analysis. Students will also participate in supplementary training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and 3D Photogrammetry. Students who participate in the field school will thus not only learn the essential skills required of field archaeologists (mapping, excavation, artifact processing, etc.), but also gain exposure to a range of specialized methods that are shaping innovations in the field today.

Project leaders take our commitment to gender equality seriously. While we have not completed formal in-person training, the director has completed self-directed Safe Zone curriculum and will require that all other professors and staff do the same. We will also discuss the project policies in advance of student arrival.

Non-Discrimination Policies: 

We have a non-discrimination policy that covers all gender/racial discrimination, and have been inspired by to ensure that moving forward we explicitly, rather than implicitly, emphasize protections for LGBTQ+ project members. We will now require students to sign, before arriving, a non-discrimination policy that includes direct reference to LGBTQ+ people.

Sexual Harassment: 

Sexual harassment is not tolerated. A warning with enforced boundaries (up to and including no contact) is given for any initial non-violent transgressions and a second transgression means leaving the project. Any violent, overtly threatening, or sexual misconduct means leaving the project immediately.

Gender Neutral Facilities: 

All of our bathrooms are shared and are gender-neutral. Room/sleeping accommodations can be easily made to ensure the comfort of transgender or non-binary students.

Additional Information: 

We thank for the opportunity to reflect upon our current policies for LGBTQ+ students and are willing to discuss these further with any individual looking to join our team!

Archaeological Field School in Wyoming

  • Field School Director: Anna Marie Prentiss
  • Contact:
  • University Affiliation: University of Montana
  • Field School Location: Shoshone National Forest, near Cody WY
  • Field School Dates: May 17-June 15, 2018
  • For More Information:

The 2018 field school will provide field and lab training in the archaeology of Middle Holocene peoples in the Middle Rocky Mountains. Specific focus will be on geophysical exploration and test excavations at site 48PA551, located on the Shoshone National Forest, near Cody, Wyoming.

The site was first excavated in 1969-1972 by the Wyoming Archaeological Society and the Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming. Findings included a pithouse, a collapsed rock cairn surrounded by deer skull caps with antlers, 40+ cooking features, 500+ spear points, abundant ground stone tools, and a large faunal assemblage. The site is currently threatened by erosion and the University of Montana project is focused on providing an updated understanding of occupation patterns at the site along with mitigating ongoing adverse effects.

Students participating in the field school will be critical team members on our project. As members of the project they will receive training and experience with site mapping, geophysical investigations, excavations, and laboratory procedures.

The field school will unfold in three phases. Students will meet on May 17 in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Montana (UM) for initial orientation to the field school. Field work will run May 18 to June 10 and that will be followed by a lab experience June 11-15 back on the UM campus where students will gain experience in artifact processing and analysis, sediment flotation, and use of GIS for creating maps. Grades will be based on student performance, field notes, and a short research paper.

The field school is directed by Anna Prentiss, a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Dr. Prentiss has extensive experience both in teaching field schools and working with members of the LGBTQ+ community. TAs are also trained in LGBTQ+ issues.

Non-Discrimination Policies:

This is our approved field school non-discrimination statement:

ANTY 467 Archaeological Field School in British Columbia is developed and operated in concordance with the University of Montana Title IX Statement. Our goal is to create an open and welcoming learning environment free from harassment and discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. It is the expectation of this course that all participants (professor, teaching assistants, and students) behave in a way that reflects and respects the University’s Title IX commitments regarding human dignity and worth. Should any project participant or field school member fail to meet this expectation, the professor in consultation with University staff will take appropriate action that could include dismissal from the field school. Anyone dismissed from the field school is responsible for his/her own return travel from the field site.

Sexual Harassment Policies:

The field school is operated in line with the University of Montana’s official statement regarding Title IX commitments: The University of Montana is committed to providing an environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every member of its community and that is free from harassment and discrimination based upon race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Such an environment is necessary to a healthy learning, working, and living atmosphere because discrimination and harassment undermine human dignity and the positive connection among all people at our University. The University will take appropriate action to eliminate, prevent and address the effects of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking and retaliation.

Gender Neutral Facilities:

Field bathrooms will be gender neutral (US Forest Service campground single occupant toilet). The University of Montana offers 22 gender neutral bathrooms across campus, though there is not yet such a facility in the Social Science Building where the Department of Anthropology is located. The director will work directly with students to solve any challenges regarding bathrooms or cohabitation issues. In the field context, students will provide their own personal tents for sleeping and storage of personal gear. Kitchen duties will be rotated amongst all participants.

Additional Information:

The director and staff are committed to offering an optimal field and lab experience for all students enrolled in the course. The University of Montana offers a variety of resources for LGBTQ+ students (

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Chantiers-écoles en archéologie historique de l’Université Laval

*Les pronoms utilisés ici se veulent le plus inclusifs possible. Par conséquent, les pronoms « iel/iels » remplaceront ici « il/elle ».

Les chantiers-écoles de l’Université Laval ont pour but premier de former les étudiant∙e∙s en archéologie au premier cycle, mais aussi aux cycles supérieurs en leur permettant de mettre en pratique leurs connaissances théoriques et en leur offrant souvent une première expérience de fouilles ou de gestion d’une équipe (dans le cas des étudiant∙e∙s aux cycles supérieurs). Ces écoles de fouilles développent aussi les aptitudes en leadership des étudiant∙e∙s au premier cycle, puisque, tour à tour, iels doivent exercer les fonctions de chef d’équipe durant lesquelles iels apprennent et mettent en pratique les méthodes d’enregistrement sur le terrain. Les chantiers-écoles de l’Université Laval incluent aussi une portion en laboratoire durant laquelle les étudiant∙e∙s apprennent les étapes menant à l’inventaire et au catalogage d’une collection archéologique.

Site Anderson: Les fouilles archéologiques au site Anderson dans le cadre du chantier-école en archéologie de l’Université Laval sont le fruit de la collaboration entre l’Université Laval, le Ministère de la Culture et des Communications et la Ville de Québec. Il s’agit d’un site qui témoigne de la transition d’un milieu rural en un environnement de plus en plus urbain dans un quartier de la ville de Québec au XIXe siècle.

À ce jour, aucun responsable ou membre de l’équipe des chantiers-écoles n’a suivi de formation officielle en ce qui a trait aux réalités LGBTQ+. Par contre, à l’été 2018, un∙e∙s des assistant∙e∙s du chantier-école fait partie de la communauté LGBTQ+ et est informé∙e au sujet des questions et enjeux liés au vaste spectre LGBTQ+ et est disposé∙e à épauler les étudiant∙e∙s qui pourraient avoir des interrogations ou des craintes à ce sujet.

Malgré l’absence de formation sur les réalités LGBTQ+, l’équipe est sensibilisée à ces réalités et ouverte aux différentes expressions de genre et orientations sexuelles. Ses membres sont ouvert∙e∙s aux discussions et cherchent à mieux comprendre et à être plus au fait des réalités et possibles problématiques liées aux questions LGBTQ+.

Notons aussi que les Queer archaeologies font partie du cursus au premier cycle dans le cadre du cours obligatoire Méthodes et théories avancées en archéologie.

Non-Discrimination Policies 

L’Université Laval ne possède pas de politique concernant directement les droits et protections des personnes LGBTQ+, mais réfère directement à la Charte québécoise des droits et libertés de la personne, ainsi qu’à la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés qui, elles, incluent explicitement les questions d’expression de genre et d’orientations sexuelles.

Par contre, les programmes d’archéologie et les chantiers-écoles en archéologie de l’Université Laval adoptent, quant à eux, une position ferme contre toute forme de discrimination sur quelque base que ce soit et, si du harcèlement ou des comportements discriminatoires surviennent pendant le chantier-école, prendront les mesures nécessaires pour les gérer et y mettre fin.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Les chantiers-écoles de l’Université Laval ne tolèrent en aucun cas le harcèlement sexuel sous n’importe quelle forme. Cette position suit le Règlement pour prévenir et contrer le harcèlement à l’Université Laval.

Gender Neutral Facilities 

Des toilettes chimiques sont disponibles sur le chantier. Elles sont, par définition, non-genrées. Autrement, le bâtiment dans lequel les étudiant∙e∙s ont accès à un local où manger et ranger leurs effets personnels ne possède pas officiellement de toilettes neutres, mais possède probablement au moins une toilette individuelle accessible aux fauteuils roulants, ce qui, sans être idéal, peut constituer une alternative. Pour ce qui est du logement, à ce chantier-école, les étudiant∙e∙s vivent habituellement chez eux (appartement, résidences universitaires etc.) comme durant la session universitaire habituelle puisque le site archéologique se situe dans la même ville que l’Université.

Additional Information 

Les professeurs, responsables et assistant∙e∙s du chantier-école sont ouverts aux discussions avec les étudiant∙e∙s concerné∙e∙s advenant le cas où des situations pourraient nécessiter des ajustements ou des accommodements concernant l’inclusion et le bien-être de personnes LGBTQ+. Notez que même si l’Université Laval ne possède, en ce moment, aucune toilette non-genrée officielle, un groupe travaille en ce moment même à faire en sorte que celles-ci soient implantées dans tous les bâtiments sur le campus, tant dans les bâtiments d’enseignements que dans les résidences universitaires. Notez aussi que les étudiant∙e∙s en archéologie qui ont affaire aux laboratoires d’archéologie (qui ne se trouvent pas sur le campus) y ont accès à des toilettes (sur un étage) qui, tout en étant théoriquement genrées, sont individuelles.