Field Living Conditions

The 2018 archaeology field school will take place in the Central Sierra foothills of California. Information on camp living, weather, basic expectations, safety, and transportation is below.

Camp Living

Participants will camp outdoors for the entire four-week field session. All food is provided as part of the field school, and all meals are prepared by the field school participants as a community effort. Breakfast usually consists of oatmeal or other cereal, fruit, coffee, and juice. Lunch, which is packed before leaving the camp for the dig site, typically includes a sandwich, crackers or chips, a sweet snack, and fruit. Rotating crews of participants prepare dinner. We accommodate vegetarians, and are sensitive to other basic dietary restrictions (within reason), so please list all such concerns on the application.
Students supply their own tents and sleeping bags. The field school provides a large communal tent for camp meetings and food preparation. Electricity is not available at the campsite. Enclosed solar showers and restrooms are constructed for privacy.


Summers in interior Northern California are hot and dry. Temperatures greater than 90 degrees are typical and extreme heat (100 degrees or higher) is possible. Overnight temperatures can drop into the mid 50s or lower. While rain is uncommon in the summer months, brief showers or thunderstorms can occur. Sun protection including wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves, and sunscreen are recommended. Layered clothing is recommended to accommodate changing conditions. See The Accommodations page for additional environmental safety concerns.

Basic Expectations

Be prepared for hard, physical work and life without typical amenities and comforts. Students are expected to be participate in all aspects of the field effort for the entire duration of the four-week course. Work will proceed Monday through Saturday of each week with Sundays available for personal time.


Field research entails certain risks. Compliance with safety procedures is essential. The Department of Anthropology has prepared field safety guidelines encompassing water sources, sanitary facilities, hygiene, medical cautions including vaccinations and first aid, fire safety, skin protection, wildlife, dangers associated with archaeological excavation, and avoidance of becoming lost. All participants are expected to have read and be familiar with these guidelines.


The field school will provide transportation to and from the camp and work sites, as well as on excursions. Students who are interested in driving their own vehicles must obtain permission from the field directors.