Center For Field Sciences

Iowa Wesleyan is the official School of Record for The Center for Field Sciences.

The Center for Field Sciences was created to serve the evolving, modern needs of field work across disciplines. We recognize that training for academic careers is important. At the same time, we recognize that the protection, preservation, and management of our shared cultural and natural heritage is shifting to the government and Environmental Consulting sector. Therefore, training must include elements that enable program graduates to seek careers both within and outside academia. To do so, each program will train participants in a range of transferable skills, list those on the syllabus and grade at the end of the program. Our goal is to create the leaders of cultural and natural heritage protection of the future.

Our Vision

Expand environmental science field careers to the broadest possible pool of aspiring practitioners. Preserving our shared natural and cultural heritage for generations to come can best be achieved by embracing excellence, equity & diversity in the field.

Our Mission

Breaking barriers of entry and providing excellence in training for impactful environmental science careers in academia, government, and the Environmental Consulting sector.

Our Values

  • Excellence in all we do is who we are
  • Diversity of voices makes us all stronger
  • Preserving Cultural & Natural Heritage is our personal responsibility to future generations
  • Programs are safe when they are safe to all
  • Field work is a team endeavor
  • Science is evidence based

Why choose? Prepare yourself for a career at both academic and CRM sector

Archaeology is going through profound changes. In the post-Covid world, academic positions are highly competitive and rare. In contrast, Cultural Resource Management (CRM) positions are plentiful and a provide rewarding careers. CFS goal is to train students for both possibilities, offering field schools of the the highest academic quality, as well as strong emphasis on skills relevant to the CRM sector.

Center for Field Sciences Information

Established in 2021, at the peak of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Center for Field Sciences (CFS) aims to embrace the changing landscape of environmental science practice across the world. Academia is no longer the sole driving force for the preservation of our shared natural and cultural heritage – governments, NGO’s and the environmental consulting sector are increasingly playing a vital role in that effort. The vast majority of environmental science jobs are, and will increasingly be, outside academia. We can best protect our shared heritage by providing excellent training for practitioners entering the field, regardless of career choices. And, best results could be achieved by recruiting practitioners from the broadest field possible and from all economic, ethnic, ideological and gender backgrounds.

How can we achieve these goals? First, by providing best-in-class training programs to students and others who wish to pursue a career in the environmental sciences. CFS runs field programs directed by leading scientists from both academic and environmental sector sector background, and continuously peer-review each program. Second, we must emphasize skill building in each of our programs so graduates could best demonstrate and communicate the specific career elements they learn at each CFS program. We partnered with Twin Cairns and use their Skills Log Matrix™ (see video here) for each program. The skills are listed on each syllabi and students graduating each program get a free professional profile on the Twin Cairns website with their skills listed and verified. Third, we are working hard at reducing cost of field programs. Our ultimate goal is to bring cost to near zero, so we may break the most significant barrier for entry to the field.

We look forward to meeting you on one of our field programs.

HIST 301KE Applied Archaeology for CRM Careers, Illinois, US

This program is a four-week, intensive field school experience designed to provide students with job-ready skills to enter the workforce as archaeological field technicians at the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) industry. Students will learn key skills necessary for CRM jobs, including survey, surface collection, shovel testing, excavation, laboratory techniques, relevant laws, and reporting. Students will learn the entire process of CRM practices, from data collection to data reporting and mitigation. Practical field and laboratory activities are supplemented by relevant readings and formal lectures. 8 Credit Hours


HIST 301HE Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Archaeological Project, Canada: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

The major objectives of the course fit into the following general categories: 1) exposure to history and theory of North American archaeology, including Indigenous ways of knowing; 2) survey, excavation, recording techniques; and 3) knowledge acquisition and interpretation in Plains Archaeology. To achieve these objectives, students will receive lectures, participate in hands-on workshops, and complete assignments. They will develop their survey, excavation, and laboratory skills throughout the field school. Students will also participate in field trips that will further expose them to the region’s natural and human history. At the end of the field school the students will have practical working knowledge of archaeological field methods, including surveying, shovel testing, auguring, and excavation. They will also gain experience in laboratory analysis, including artifact classification, cleaning, cataloguing, and attribute analysis. The students will be exposed to the intellectual challenges presented by archaeological research, including research design, the interpretation of data, and the continual readjustment of hypotheses and field
strategies with regard to information recovered in the field. Moreover, the students will be taught the field and laboratory documentation procedures in accordance with laws and regulations designed to protect and curate cultural resources in Alberta, Canada. 8 Credit Hours


HIST 301IN The Incoronata Project, Italy

Incoronata is located in southern Italy, near the coast of the Gulf of Taranto (the ‘arch’ of the boot), in today’s Basilicata region. The site is distributed across a vast plateau overlooking the valley where the river Basento flows. In the 7th century BC its prominence likely served to attract travelers from the Aegean, who settled alongside the local community during the earliest phase of the Greek colonization, arguably the most consequential migration event of the ancient Mediterranean. The site offers a superb opportunity to investigate the development of an Early Iron Age Italic community and the culture contact dynamics they established with Greek newcomers at the outset of this historical water-shed. Occupation at Incoronata began at the end of the 10th century BC, the start of the Italian Early Iron Age. A vast cemetery, in use from the 9th to the middle of the 8th century BC, was excavated along the northern edge of the plateau, while remains of a contemporaneous settlement were uncovered nearby. Further evidence of occupation dating to the Early Iron Age was also found on the highest part of the plateau. While the rest of the plateau seems to have been deserted by the middle of the 8th century, this area continued to be used until the beginning of the 6th century, when Incoronata was abandoned. During the last century of its life, this area provides evidence of coexistence between local people and Aegean newcomers. This period corresponds to the early phase of the Greek colonization, which cast Greek settlers from the Black Sea to Spain and was a key catalyst for the creation of the interconnected, urbanized Mediterranean of the Classical period. At this time, along the Ionian Gulf coast and a few miles sea-ward from Incoronata, the colony of Metaponto also flourished, alongside Taranto to the southeast and Siris and Sybaris to the west, making this region the heart of what eventually became Magna Graecia or Greater Greece. Although the site of Incoronata has been under investigation since the 1970s, there remains much to be discovered. The highest part of the plateau itself was the object of numerous excavations throughout the years, most recently by the Université de Rennes 2 (France). The latter, directed by Prof. Mario
Denti, began in 2002 and has been running as a field school ever since. To date, the excavation has brought to light several features belonging to the indigenous Early Iron Age phase and the 7th century BC ‘mixed’ indigenous-Greek phase. These point to a public function of the area under investigation, with evidence of both artisanal production and extensive ritual activities. Among the findings are two paved terraces, a large wall, several ritual pits likely linked to an ancestor cult, an apsidal building with the remains of a ritual, a pottery kiln used to fire both local and Greek-style pottery, and two small furnaces. 8 Credit Hours


HIST 301PM Investigating the Archaeology of Death in Pompeii (Italy): Porta Sarno Necroplois Research Project

The Porta Sarno Necropolis project offers an exceptional opportunity to investigate Roman society and its unique views of life and the afterlife. The study of the necropolis monuments, tombs, roads, walls, material culture and biological remains provide contextual understanding of how the funerary space was managed by the ancient inhabitants of Pompeii. Both the human biological evidence and associated artifacts and features are studied to understand context, stratigraphy and cultural evolution. The program uses traditional excavation techniques – trowels and shovels, sifting and sorting – as well at advanced analytical instruments, such as Total Stations and Portable energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (pXRF). The program provides students with practical working knowledge of archaeological and anthropological field methods, including excavation, laboratory analysis, artifact cataloguing, topography, archaeological drawing and conservation. 8 Credit Hours


HIST 301PR The Disappearance of the Nuragic Culture on the Island of Sardinia: Landscape Archaeology at Progetto Pran’e Siddi, Italy

Pran’e Siddi, or the Siddi Plateau, is a high basaltic plateau located in the south-central part of the island of Sardinia (Italy), near the modern town of Siddi. The area around Siddi was inhabited by prehistoric villagers beginning in the Neolithic period (ca. 4000-3200 BCE). During the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1700-1450 BCE), these previously egalitarian people began to develop a hierarchical social system with an elite who expressed their power and prestige through the building of monumental stone towers called nuraghi. The elites of the Nuragic community on the Siddi Plateau built sixteen nuraghi, which they lived in and added onto for three centuries. By 1450 BCE, however, the elite sites on the Siddi Plateau seem to have been abandoned, and the population moved away. Progetto Pran’e Siddi was formed to conduct a thorough investigation of Nuragic climate, environment, land use, and economic practices in the Siddi region. We are interested in finding out what kinds of pressures – social, environmental, and/or economic – made the Nuragic people abandon their towers on the plateau. We are answering these questions through a combination of archaeological excavation and survey. Excavation takes place at the site of Sa Conca ‘e sa Cresia, one of the largest nuraghi on the plateau. Survey focuses both on-site and off-site, addressing the other Nuragic structures on the plateau as well as the landscapes surrounding them. By participating in Progetto Pran’e Siddi, students will contribute to ongoing research while gaining professional skills in excavation methods, pedestrian survey, and artifact processing. 8 Credit Hours


HIST 301CV Neanderthals & Modern Human Adaptive Strategies at Cova Gran De Santa Linya, Spain

This program is an immersive, practical experience in archaeological fieldwork involving hands-on experiential learning: students will study how to conduct archaeological research. Archaeology involves physical work and exposure to the elements and thus requires a measure of acceptance that this will not be the typical university learning environment. You will get sweaty, tired and have to work in the outdoors. Students are required to come equipped with sufficient excitement and adequate understanding that the archaeological endeavor requires fieldwork experience. 8 Credit Hours


HIST 301RV: Interactions between Italy & the Aegean in the Ancient Mediterranean: The Site of Roca Vecchia (Southern Italy)

The main objective of the field school is to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of archaeological fieldwork practice in the context of the ancient Mediterranean, from how research is designed and planned, to its every-day routines on and off-site, to its ongoing scientific interpretation. Students will receive five days of preliminary lectures, where they will be provided with all the information they need to fully engage in the field activities. At the same time, students will help with opening the site. During the following three weeks of fieldwork, students will conduct excavation and laboratory work during weekdays, while weekends will be dedicated to on and off-site documentation, museum visits and field trips. 8 Credit Hours


HIST 301SH: Hippos Excavation Project, Israel

Students will take active part in all stages of the excavations process and finds processing, supervised by the area manager of the field or by a specialist in the field laboratory. Students will have the opportunity to use all tools and documentation instruments. Students interested in conservation will have the opportunity to join the field conservation efforts under the supervision of the project’s conservator. Students will take part in the weekly lectures organized in the evenings, where they will learn about regional history and various research threads connected to the works at the site, including tools that were used to carry out this research. 8 Credit Hours


HIST 301ZA Zooarchaeology in Theory & Practice: Analyzing Materials from Los Angeles Natural History Museum and Channel Islands, CA (US)

This zooarchaeology field school is a laboratory program that focuses on the identification and interpretation of archaeological faunal materials. In addition to covering theoretical approaches to faunal remain interpretations, laboratory course work will concentrate on developing proficiency in identifying mammal, fish, bird, and herptile specimens. Students will learn how to use comparative collections for actual research of materials excavated archaeologically. Students will be trained in both academic writing and public interpretation of faunal materials. 8 Credit Hours

Programs are always changing. Check out the Center for Field Sciences website for the most up-to-date Program information.

We recognize that the cost of a field school is a significant barrier for entry to the fields of Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management and Environmental consulting. We try to minimize costs and make our programs as affordable as possible. In addition, we work with students to identify financial resources that help defer the cost of field schools. Some of the scholarships listed here are part of CFS offerings, others are resources available to students from outside resources. We encourage all students to explore these funding opportunities so field schools could be open to the broadest possible community of aspiring scholars and Cultural Resource Management practitioners.

Click here to view the full list of Scholarships that are currently being offered.

Our programs are open to everyone, regardless of ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, university or major.

We have only two restrictions:

  • You must be a legal adult , defined as being 18 or older, by the day the program begins. If you are too young to attend our programs, sign up for our newsletter and stay informed of updates. Once eligible, we will be delighted to see you attend one of our field schools.
  • You must be able to walk 4 miles (6 km) carrying a 20 pounds (10 kg) backpack.

Some programs are more arduous than others. Read the syllabus and program description to see if the program is the best fit for you.

Below is how to contact the Center of Field Sciences:

  • Phone: 562-584-0761
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Business Hours: Monday — Friday 9 AM – 5 PM Pacific Standard Time

Pictures From Our 2022 Program: