Category: Summer Field Schools and Other Programs

Blasket Islands

Blasket islands

2015 Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Field School, Great Blasket Island, Ireland
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, May 25 to July 3, 2015
6 weeks, 6 credits

This field school in archaeology, history, heritage, and landscape studies will examine the lifeways of residents of Great Blasket Island (Blascaod Mor) off the southwest coast of the Dingle Peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne) of the Republic of Ireland. Great Blasket and its surrounding islands have been traversed by cultures leaving traces from fort sites thousands of years in age, to monastic dwellings and Viking incursions in the medieval period one thousand years ago, and a settled village from at least the 17th century onward. The lifeways of the residents on Great Blasket were the focus of nationalist pride by proponents of the new Republic of Ireland in the early 1900s. Those lifeways, supported by maritime, pastoral, and agrarian subsistence, were hailed by nationalist advocates as representing an authentic Irish cultural identity uncorrupted by the impacts of British colonialism, racism, modernity, or new consumer markets. Great Blasket’s population decreased as emigration to America or to the mainland towns of the Republic drew families away in the 1900s. This field school will contribute to research examining the cultural landscapes across time and the archaeological record of resident lifeways. Additional information and an application form are available online at

This field school is presented through a collaboration with Micheal De Mordha, director of the Great Blasket Cultural Center in Dunquin, Ireland, and Frank Coyne, co-director and principal archaeologist of Aegis Archaeology, in Limerick. Many thanks to the University of Illinois for hosting this field school, and to the University of Chicago for funding support.

Best wishes,

Christopher C. Fennell, PhD, JD, RPA
Assoc. Prof. of Anthropology and University Scholar
Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois
Visiting Professor of Law, University of Chicago

Jamie Arjona accepts 2014 award from SHA President Paul Mullins.

Jamie Arjona accepts 2014 award from SHA President Paul Mullins.

Congratulations to Anthropology department alumna Annelise Morris in receiving the first-place award for the Society for Historical Archaeology‘s Diversity Field School Award, and to graduate students Jamie Arjona and Tatiana Niculescu for the second-place award. These awards recognized their excellent work as collaborative archaeology project managers and their successes through research designs and public participation in enhancing the diversity of our field of science. The SHA congratulates them for excellence in “making the field of historical archaeology more inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and socio-economic background” and showing “a commitment to increasing diversity in the field.” Annelise’s field school focused on her dissertation site at Lawrenceville, Illinois, and Jamie and Tatiana’s contribution focused on the 2013 field school at the Pottersville site in Edgefield, South Carolina.

A Dragon Kiln in Carolina

By K. Kris Hirst, Guide

excavation photoChinese Pottery Technology in the Antebellum American South

As modern humans, we tend to think of international trade, commercial innovation and mass production as strictly modern inventions, no more than a century or so old and certainly never dreamed of by our great-grandfathers. I know what you’re thinking–didn’t Henry Ford invent that stuff? But as archaeology teaches us over and over again, modern industrial revolutions are in fact based on centuries and even millennia of collaboration, innovation and espionage.

A Dragon Kiln in Carolina is the story of the origins of mass production of an innovative and revolutionary type of ceramic stoneware, pottery made beginning in the southern United States about 1815, with clay body and glaze recipes and equipment technologies borrowed in part from 6th century Chinese manufacturing. It is a tale of the import of an idea for an enormous, fiery pottery-making monster, aptly named a dragon kiln for its heat, length and high-maintenance characteristics, and it is one of technological transmission from China to South Carolina that the excavators have yet to completely understand.

The archaeological identification of a dragon kiln in the historic South Carolina pottery workshops called the Edgefield District was made by Christopher Fennell (U. Illinois), George Calfas (U. Illinois), Carl Steen (Diachronic Research Foundation), and Sean Taylor (S.C. Department of Natural Resources) during the summer of 2011, and I thank them sincerely for bringing the story to me, as well as providing photos and information to take the story to you.

Read full article and photo essay online


RipanMalhi2Summer Internship for Native Americans in Genomics (SING) Workshop at Institute for Genomic Biology

The Institute for Genomic Biology will once again be hosting the Summer Internship for Native Americans in Genomics (SING) Workshop. The workshop will take place from August 4-10, 2013, at the IGB to discuss genomics as a tool for Native American communities and assist in the training of Native Americans in the concepts and methods currently used in genomics.

The aims of the workshop are to facilitate discussions on indigenous values and whether scientific methods can be beneficially incorporated with these values, and to provide awareness of how genomics is currently used as a tool to assist in projects focused on natural resources, history and biomedicine. Additional instruction in fundamental concepts and methods in genomics and bioinformatics, including both theoretical aspects and practical laboratory- and computer-based training, will take place.

“The SING workshop fosters a new generation of intellectual leaders with the tools to address the expanding frontiers of genomic science and interactions with indigenous communities,” says Ripan Malhi, Director of the SING program.

Combining ethical, legal, and social discussions surrounding historical Native American encounters with science and hands-on training in the latest genomics techniques and analytical programs, the goal of the workshop is to help prepare participants for future leadership positions in science research and teaching careers.

The SING workshop was first held at the IGB in 2011, with 12 attendees and several faculty advisors participating from universities across North America. The upcoming workshop looks to double the number of participants.

Tallbear“The SING workshop is an important resource for Native American students who often engage genomics out of a commitment to their tribal communities. SING offers a multi-disciplinary curriculum that recognizes that ‘science’ and ‘society’ are not separate, but entangled,” says Kim TallBear, SING faculty and assistant professor at UC Berkeley.

The workshop is open to tribal college students, community college students, university undergraduate students and graduate students, and individuals who would like to continue their education in the sciences. Registration is now open, and full details can be found at

UIUC ANTH major, Tara McGovern, worked as an intern for the Chicago Humanities Festival this past summer (’12), an the CHF has just published a post she wrote about the summer she spent doing an archaeological field school in Belize with Prof. Lisa Lucero.  The post was written to publicize Prof. Lucero’s upcoming event in Chicago for the CHF.  

Thanks to the South Carolina Humanities Council and National Endowment for the Humanities for grant support for two projects on Edgefield ceramics and archaeology. Congratulations to the Edgefield County Historical Society, as the sponsoring organization for these projects, and to George Calfas as Project Director and author of the grant proposals.

The first project consisted of a five-part speaker series convened in South Carolina in the Summer of 2011, entitled “Pottersville: 200 Years of Pottery Production in the Edgefield District.”

The second project is entitled “Pottersville: Home of Alkaline Glazed Stoneware,” and has the following description on the S.C. Humanities Council web site: “create a short documentary film of 8 to 10 minutes showcasing the alkaline-glazed stoneware tradition that is so important in Edgefield County. This film will be presented at the Joanne T. Rainsford Discovery Center in Edgefield, the McKissick Museum in Columbia, at regional historical society meetings, as well as on several websites, including SCETV’s, which reaches K-12 classrooms across the state” (

Over the past few months Mr. Calfas and his colleagues have been working with Storyline Media to edit film footage with the goal of sharing the rich history of the pottery communities of Edgefield, the accomplishments of African-American and European-American artisans in those industries, and to document the 2011 Archaeological Fieldschool at Pottersville. The final product is a concise, 15 minute documentary now available online. In the coming month a DVD version will be added to the Anthropology department video library. If you would like a copy please let Mr. Calfas know, and please pass along this information to others who may be interested. Additional information about this multi-year, collaborative research and education project is also available online.

Edgefield, SC: The Turning Point for Pottery in North America
By Doug Peterson, LAS News Bureau

Dave the Potter was openly breaking state law when he inscribed his name, along with poetry and Bible verses, in the pottery he created in South Carolina. That’s because it was illegal in the early 19th century for a slave like Dave to read or write, let alone propagate simple inscribed rhymes such as: “I wonder where is all my relation / Friendship to all — and, every nation.” Today, pottery created by Dave the Potter can be found in museums across the world, including the Smithsonian. University of Illinois anthropologists have now gone back to the source of this amazing craftsmanship, unearthing the Pottersville kiln where it is believed that Dave became a master potter. This kiln was also the first to use alkaline glazing in North America—a major breakthrough in pottery. From May through June, anthropology graduate student George Calfas led a team of undergraduate students, including five LAS students. Working in muggy, 100-degree weather, they uncovered the industrial-scale kiln used to make pottery at Pottersville, about a mile from Edgefield, S.C. [Follow link above for full article]

Our Summer 2011 UIUC Archaeology Field School on Edgefield, SC Pottery Communities was featured in the National Register of Historic Places’ Archaeology Month publication for this year.

The first innovation and development of alkaline-glazed stoneware pottery in America occurred in the Edgefield District of South Carolina in the early 1800s. It remains an enduring mystery as to how these new ceramic methods were developed in that place and time, and how the techniques of clay choice, temper, and glaze developed over the following century. These potteries employed enslaved and free African-American laborers in the 19th century, and the stoneware forms also show evidence of likely African cultural influence on stylistic designs. Edgefield potteries thus present fascinating research questions of understanding technological innovations and investigating the impacts of African cultural knowledge on a rural industry during the historic period in America. Among other accomplishments, our 2011 Field School participants uncovered and recorded a kiln of remarkable scale at the Pottersville site.

Greetings from Guatemala!

My name is Michael Harvey and I’m writing from the Hospitalito Atitlan – – in Guatemala. We are located in the Tz’utujil Maya town of Santiago Atitlan on the shores of Lake Atitlan, and we serve this community by offering high-quality health services to its population.

We are currently writing to select US Anthropology departments regarding a new 6-week summer cultural and medical immersion program we are looking to pilot late this June. We are calling it the ‘Field School Fellows Program at the Hospitalito Atitlan’ and it will be taught largely by anthropologist Vincent Stanzione, author of Rituals of Sacrifice and frequent lecturer at top US universities. Hospital staff and community leaders will also lecture and lead discussions. Classroom time will be supplemented by field trips and optional volunteer projects.

We hope to fill between 5 and 10 seats for this summer.

Please see the FSF – Info , and please be in touch if you’d like more information.

The School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics will offer
Intensive Foreign Language Instruction Program in 10 languages this intersession, from May 16-27.

Only $100 for UIUC students!
• Classes meet Monday through Friday, 3 hours a day, for two weeks.
Courses focus on conversational skills, travel preparation and language survival skills.
• There is minimal homework, no attendance policy, and no academic credit.
Registration by April 15 (Friday) is encouraged.
Course offerings that do not meet the minimum enrollment by that date are subject to cancellation.
For more information, contact


Languages taught this summer:
May 16-27, 2011
Classes meet Monday through Friday
9AM-Noon, unless indicated otherwise


Chinese, Elementary
French, Elementary
French, Elementary (5-8 pm)
French, Intermediate
German, Elementary
Greek (Modern), Elementary (5-8 pm)
Italian, Elementary
Italian, Intermediate
Japanese, Elementary
Portuguese, Elementary
Russian, Elementary
Spanish, Elementary
Spanish, Elementary (5-8 pm)
Spanish, Intermediate
Spanish, Advanced
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