2018 Field School

Now entering its seventh season, the Smiths Island Archaeology Field School has trained dozens of students in excavation and research methods and prepared them for graduate study. Besides investigating a variety of 17th and 18th-century sites ranging from a 400-year old early settlers’ house to a quarantine hospital, students learn about the early Modern Atlantic World from an island at its center. Students are involved in all aspects of fieldwork, including excavation, artifact identification, documentary research, mapping, photography, and 3D digital modeling. Through readings, exploration, tours of local sites and even an experimental archeology practicum, students will learn about Bermuda’s extensive history and the process of Americanization. During the 2018 season, we will extend excavations near Oven Site (c. 1615) to find the main manor house, continue digging a military and civilian quarantine site at Smallpox Bay, and survey the island’s western bay to find new sites.

Prior archaeological experience or knowledge of early American history is not required, nor do you need to be an archaeology, anthropology or history major! 

Housing: We will stay in St. George’s, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which boasts more than sixty 18th-century houses and forts for students to study – and is still an active sailing port which hosted the AMERICAS WORLD CUP in June 2017. Housing and food are included in the program cost, but students may have to cook their own meals. Bermuda is very expensive: most food is imported and rents are very high. There will be a certain element of “roughing it” to keep the field school affordable. That said, you will be living in the oldest town in English America and a short walk away from four beaches. Program Cost is $4,250, exclusive of airfare to/from Bermuda (about $450) but includes food, housing, transportation, and field trips within Bermuda.

Fieldwork: We will spend four weeks excavating sites on 60-acre Smiths Island, located in St. George’s Harbour, and will commute to work daily by boat. Work will be physically demanding. Because the island is heavily overgrown, this field school may not be suitable for students highly allergic to poison ivy. Work will include a blend of field excavation and artifact processing and analysis. On rain days, we will conduct primary research in the Bermuda Archives in Hamilton (Bermuda’s capital). We may also snorkel over nearby bays and shipwreck sites to look for evidence of shipbuilding. The work, in short, will be hard but intellectually rewarding.

Most students enroll in HIS 299 (Field and Research Methods in Archaeology) and earn 4 University of Rochester credits. Students with prior archaeological field experience can take HIS 398, Advanced Field Methods. These courses can satisfy requirements in the UR Archaeology, Technology and Historic Structures program or be used toward history or anthropology majors. Graduate Students can get 5 credits for taking HIS 498 Archaeology Field & Research Methods for the same program fee.

Applications for the field school are due by April 1, 2018, but are accepted earlier on a rolling basis before then until all slots are full. The total program fee (including tuition) for 2018 is $4,250 plus airfare to Bermuda. The best way to apply is via the UR Education Abroad PORTAL (http://studyabroad.rochester.edu/) , but you can also send a paper application to the Smiths Island Archaeology Project, C/O Michael Jarvis, Dept. of History, Rush Rhees 364, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627 or by email attachment to Michael.Jarvis@rochester.edu.

2018 Smiths Island, Bermuda, Archaeology Field School Application



Email & phone #:

Date of Birth (for Bermuda Emigration):

School, Academic Year, Major, and any prior archaeology/early American history courses/experience:

Do you have any physical limitations and/or dietary restrictions? If so, please list:

Do you have a valid US or other national passport good through the end of 2018? If so, please list your passport number, date of issue, and date of expiration.

Do you have any boat-handling, SCUBA diving or snorkeling, or computer CAD/GIS experience? Can you swim? If so, how strong a swimmer are you? Are you allergic to poison ivy? Can you cook stuff?

Reality Check: Archaeology has little to do with Indiana Jones or Lara Croft and is hardly the romantic action-packed enterprise that movies present. This field school will be both physically and mentally challenging and involve meticulous attention to detail in the archives, field, and lab. Please attach an academic resume and a statement (500 words) relating why you want to participate in this project and what you hope to learn.

Letter of Recommendation: Please list the name, department, title, and email of a professor willing to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Also arrange to have this person send this letter directly to MICHAEL JARVIS at the address or email above.

Recommenders: please comment on the student’s background, intellectual aptitude, maturity and suitability for undertaking an experiential learning program. It would be especially helpful to note any previous historical or archaeological training the applicant has had and how participation in this field school will deepen the student’s intellectual development at your college or university.

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