Fieldwork I and II

main pic

Photo credit : Jitse Dijkstra

(CLA 3000/3900)

Coordinating professor: Jitse H.F. Dijkstra

Office: DMS, room 10110 (10th floor)

Telephone: 562-5800 (ext. 1325)



Participation in archaeological field work is offered to any student who has completed the course CLA 2110, Archaeological Methods and Techniques. In this course the basic theories, methods and practices of archaeology have been learned, and field work is the logical sequence for those who want to experience the practical aspects of archaeology in the field.

Practical Arrangements

practical arrangement

At the moment, we have established ongoing relations with several excavation projects in the Mediterranean. These excavations are recommended because we know the field directors and their field work, but the student is free to look for another suitable excavation. These can be found at (the website of the Archaeological Institute of America).


Once the student has found a suitable excavation, he/she needs permission from the coordinating professor. Application forms for the approval of digs (‘Request for Archaeological Field Work’) can be obtained from the coordinating professor.  The student must fill it out and return it to the professor. Permission will be granted on a case-by-case basis, following these minimum requirements:


1. The excavation must run as a course through another university or is approved by the coordinating professor

2. The excavation must last 2-3 weeks for CLA 3900 and 4-6 weeks for CLA 3000; a ‘week’ includes a minimum of 5 working days

3. The excavation must involve a classical site or sites (in exceptional cases Bronze and Iron Age sites will also be allowed)

4. The excavation must offer suitable training

5. The student must not be paid for the field work

The difference between CLA 3000 and 3900 is that the former is worth 6 credits, whereas the latter is worth 3 credits. All possible combinations up to 12 credits and a maximum of 2 excavations can be pursued, that is, the maximum credit can be achieved by completing CLA 3000 twice. The student is only allowed to enroll in one excavation per term.

With an ‘excavation’ we mean both excavations proper and survey projects. In exceptional cases, students could also receive credits for restoration work, underwater archaeology, museum work and so on.

Once the student has received permission to participate in an excavation, he/she has the choice to be registered in either the Summer or the Fall term.  


  • Excavation Performance (on the basis of Field Director Report): 40%
  • Field Work Report: 60%

The Field Work

field work

It is recommended to take a notebook into the field and make constant notes of the work done (this notebook is usually called a ‘dig diary’). These notes serve a practical goal for they could be of use for recording data or drawing sketches but at the same time will serve as the basis of the field work report the student has to write after the excavation.

The requirements for a field work report can be obtained by the coordinating professor before the excavations. It should be read through carefully in order to know what needs to be recorded in the field notebook.

Other requirements for the field work (practical arrangements) depend on the excavation. For advice, ask the coordinator.

After the field work, the coordinator will send a Field Director Report to the field director of the excavation the student participated in. The field director will give marks about the excavation performance, finds processing, theoretical insight and social skills. Possible additional work conducted or any other remarks will also contribute to this mark, which accounts for 40% of the final mark.

Field Work Report

The student’s report of the excavations, the field work report, will account for the rest (60%). A field work report is a report, not an essay or paper in which a case is argued and a question is answered. A field work report is merely a detailed report about the student’s participation in the excavation. A field work report consists of an adequate and precise description of:

1. Topography and geology of the site

2. Its excavation history

3. Methods and techniques used at the excavation

4. Results of the excavation

[For a sheet with a more precise description of the report, ask the coordinator]

The length of the field work report should be 15 to 18 pp. for CLA 3000 and 12 to 15 pp. for CLA 3900.

The student will be judged on how adequate and precise the descriptions are, the report must conform to the normal rules of style and spelling, and contain the mentioned parts and pp. A good field report unfolds exactly and clearly to the reader what has been done during the excavation. It is recommended to include maps and pictures, but only if they illustrate the report. For example, a description of the topography of the site almost always requires a good map of the site. In addition, it is also judged if all information given is relevant. For example, if the dig took place in Pompeii, a complete history of all excavations taking place there should not be included, but only a general history leading to the field school the student participated in. If secondary literature is used for a description of the excavation history, the source should always be mentioned in a footnote.

The Field Work Report has to be handed in two weeks after returning from the excavations, or, if the two weeks extend to after term, at the end of term.

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