Archaeology Field School

The UC Davis Department of Anthropology offers an annual field school to train students in archaeological field methods. See the link below for details on this year's location and how to apply.

The 2019 Archaeology Field School

The UC Davis Archaeology Field School offers hands-on, research-driven training in archaeological field methods.

The 2019 Archaeology Field School - Read More…

Escuela de Campo de Arqueologia de la Universidad de California, Davis - 2019

El 2019, la Escuela de Campo de Arqueología de la Universidad de California, Davis estará investigando sobre cazadores-recolectores en los Andes, Cuenca del lago Titicaca, sur del Perú.

Escuela de Campo de Arqueologia de la Universidad de California, Davis - 2019 - Read More…

Field Living Conditions

The 2019 archaeology field school will take place in the Puno region of the Andes Mountains, southern Peru. Information on camp living, weather, basic expectations, safety, and transportation is below.

All field school students will be provided a detailed field manual explaining the conditions, equipment recommendations, hazards, emergency procedures, resources, etc. Here we offer a brief overview of conditions to help you evaluate our program's fit for you.

Camp Living

Participants will sleep in hostels or on sleeping pads in rural houses near the field sites. Houses are not heated. All food is provided as part of the field school, and all meals are prepared by camp staff and 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, fruit, a sweet snack, and drinks. Given the limitations of foods in the remote region, dietary restriction may be difficult to accommodate, though efforts will be made to do so to the extent possible.
Students supply their own sleeping bags. Electricity is available but internet and cellular service will only be available on the weekends. Showers and modern restrooms will be available on weekends only.


Though it will be summer in the northern hemisphere, it will be winter in Peru. Moreover, the field sites are located at high elevation--over 12,600 ft (3800 m) above sea level. Expect daily high temperatures in the 60s and lows in the 20s. Precipitation is rare during the austral winter, but snow and hail are possible. Solar radiation is intense at this high elevation, so sun protection including wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves, and sunscreen are recommended. Note that houses and buildings are not heated. Layered clothing is recommended to accommodate variable conditions. The low-oxygen conditions can make respiration difficult, especially during the first several days and during bouts of physical exertion. This can result in headaches, dizziness, or nausea. To minimize the effects of hypoxia, students will spend two nights at mid-elevation (8,000 ft) in Arequipa to acclimatize.

Basic Expectations

Be prepared for hard, physical work and life without typical amenities and comforts. Students are expected to participate in all aspects of the field effort for the entire duration of the 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 a field safety manual to offer information about hazards and first aid. All participants will be provided this manual and are expected to have read and be familiar with these guidelines. Beyond normal hazards in the study region include hypoxia, cold, farm dogs, and traveler's diarrhea. The US State Department does not recognize any particular threats to saftey in the Puno region at this time, and this is consistent with our long-term experience working in the region.


The field school will provide all transportation, including round-trip air travel and transportation to and from field sites. Students interested in altering their travel itinerary must do so in consultation with Dr. Haas and at their own expense.

Field School Equipment

The following is the 2018 list. Stay tuned for the 2019 list, which will be substantially different.
Most of the gear on this list would be great to have, but keep in mind that costs for equipment can add up. If this is the only time that you will be using this gear, buy only essential items, and see if you can borrow other equipment from friends or family members.
This is a four-week course, so keep comfort in mind. Even after a full day in the field, you will have a lot of camp time to use as you wish, so be sure to bring forms of entertainment, such as books, crossword puzzles or games.

Personal gear

  • Backpack or duffle: This should be something in which to pack all your personal belongings for the entire six weeks. We will be limited on space in vehicles, so limit it to one duffle or backpack containing the most necessary items.
  • Tent: If you want sufficient room and dislike feeling confined, consider a four-person or a two-person tent. Costco, Target, Sports Authority, Big Five and some other retailers all tents at reasonable prices ($60–$80). Don’t skimp too much on this, because it is going to be your home for four weeks.
  • Ground cloth for your tent: an inexpensive plastic tarpaulin works fine.
  • Sleeping pad: Thin foam mats may be fine for a weekend backpacking trip, but you might want something thicker for six weeks in the field. You can double up foam mats or maybe consider an air mattress (no bigger than single bed size if you’d like to fit more than just the mattress in your tent).
  • Sleeping bag: You don’t need a heavily insulated one intended for freezing weather, but make sure you have something that will keep you warm with nighttime temperatures in the 50s.
  • Pillow: You can purchase a small camping pillow or just bring a regular size one. That’s not a must-have item, but it will help keep you comfortable.
  • Flashlight or headlamp. Headlamps work best because they are hands free.
  • Mug: A good multi-use mug for hot and cold beverages.
  • Alarm clock: You will be responsible for waking yourself up each morning and will need a battery-powered alarm clock or watch with an alarm. Don’t rely on your cell phone or any other device that needs to be recharged periodically. Our access to electricity will be limited.
  • Two water bottles: We recommend the 1-quart size. Nalgenes work best, but anything that holds water that you can carry around will work. Camelbak 2-liter hydration bladders are ideal for survey work.
Working in field conditions requires adequate protection from sun, vegetation, rocky ground and other potential sources of injury while at the same time trying to remain at a comfortable temperature. Strong work pants (such as jeans, Dickies, Carharts) are recommended, along with long-sleeve shirts (especially for survey work) to protect from the sun and vegetation. In some circumstances, working in shorts and T-shirts may be possible. We recommend layers of clothing so you can adjust for cool mornings and hot days, as well as more comfortable camp clothes for off-duty hours. Bring plenty of socks, T-shirts and underwear, and remember that everything will be getting extremely dirty and worn out.
  • Pants: Old jeans and khakis work well in the field. Comfortable pants make a huge difference in the field. If you have to purchase some cheap jeans or work pants, try a store like Wal-Mart, Kmart, or the thrift store.
  • Shirts: Same idea here as with the pants. Old T-shirts and tank tops work best, as the potential to re-wear after field school is low. Remember, the days will be hot, so stick to materials that breathe well.
  • Socks: The type of socks are really up to you. You don’t necessarily need thick wool ones, but it wouldn’t hurt to have some quality pairs. Try to bring a week’s worth of socks.
  • Shoes: Old tennis shoes work out great. Hiking boots are fine and can protect your feet if you plan to go on hikes and for survey work. The key is comfort, and protection of your feet from aching. While working you will need to wear closed-toe shoes.
  • Hat: A hat of some sort – a straw hats, a baseball cap or a wide-brimmed cowboy hat -- will protect you from the sun and help to keep you cooler during those hot days. A bandana can offer some protection, too.
  • Top layers: A good lightweight windbreaker jacket can be very helpful. Fleece is light and warm and fairly inexpensive. Cotton Sweatshirts are OK, too, but make sure you will be warm enough if the nights become chilly.
  • Rain gear: A good set of rain gear is important to have on hand. Any hardware store should have a two- or three-piece set of rain gear for under $20. You may look like a fisherman but you will be toasty warm and dry when it rains. We may also use rain gear if we wet-screen.
Bring a couple of changes of clothes that will be comfortable when we are hanging out at camp after work. Temperatures will be hot during the day and cool at night, so bring some comfortable clothes with that in mind.

Field gear

Make sure to label all your gear with your initials or a personal symbol.
  • Pointy trowel: A Marshalltown size 5 trowel is the standard model people for archaeological field research. Look for it in the masonry equipment section (not in garden supplies) at a hardware store.
  • 2m folding rule and 5m metric tape: Make sure they are metric! It’s OK if they have both standard and metric scales.
  • Line level: Plastic is fine, and it should cost about $2.
  • Paintbrush: Nice to have at least one; a used is fine.
  • Field bag: The most common is a standard backpack. An electrician’s bag or tool bag also can be sufficient. Just make sure you have something that you can put all of your stuff in.
  • Reusable lunch box or bag, for trash.
  • Work gloves: Leather or imitation leather gloves will work best. They can become worn out quickly, so you may want to bring two pairs.
  • A bound field journal: You will be required to keep a journal while in the field. The 6-by-8-inch composition books with the black-and-white covers that most school bookstores sell is fine.
  • Small root clippers.
  • Sharpie pen: Black, fine point.
  • Pencils: Mechanical or regular. Bring lots of cheap ones, because they get lost.
  • Flat-nosed trowel: Great for edging. If you are going to buy one optional piece of equipment, get this.
  • Knee pads or foam gardening pad: This isn’t required, but is highly recommended. You’ll spend a lot of time kneeling while you excavate, and the ground can be very unforgiving.
  • Ice pick or dental tools.
  • Flagging tape.
  • String.
  • Small hand broom and dustpan.
  • Toothbrush: Great for cleaning off artifacts.
  • Compass: If you are going to buy a compass make sure it is declination adjustable. If it is not you are out of luck. A good Silva compass is the best, particularly the Silva Ranger.
  • Clipboard

General gear

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen: It will be sunny and hot! Make sure to bring lots of sunscreen.
  • Aloe vera and sunburn cream: Just in case you do get a sunburn.
  • Bug spray
  • Personal medications.
  • Personal toiletries.
  • Batteries for everything.
  • Swimsuit: You may have access to a river or lake for swimming.
  • Towel.
  • Sandals or flip flops.
  • Gum, candy, other snacks, and drinks: For personal consumption
  • Cooler: You will not be able to store any personal food or drinks in the camp coolers, so you may want your own.
  • Camping chair
  • Earplugs
  • Books, games, playing cards, iPod (but keep in mind that you may not have access to an electrical source for recharging).
  • Mobile phone: Wireless connectivity in remote areas may be poor or nonexistent.

Suppliers for gear

  • Certain to have everything you need to assemble your dig kit. Very archaeology friendly. See the environmental science subcategory.
  • CSP Outdoors: Not quite as broad a selection, but if they carry it, they usually have the absolute best price you can find. Search for "archaeology and geology gear," but be aware that the full selection of useful items might not be listed under "archaeology."
  • Another major outdoor equipment supplier. It's similar to Forestry Suppliers, but prices may not be as good, and it's not archaeology-oriented.

Field School Fees and Scholarships

Enrollment in Anthropology Field School requires payment of Summer Session fees plus a program fee.
Note: Summer Session 2019 fees have not posted yet. The following is provided for estimation purposes only.
The Summer Sessions office administers a tuition fee for Summer courses, with separate charges for UC Davis and non-UC Davis students. Out-of-state tuition is waved for all field school students. Total cost is $2833 for UC students and $3113 for non-UC students. This includes tuition, field supplies, food, lodging, and all transportation including round-trip airfare from the US. More information on Summer Session tuition and fees can be found here.
2018 archaeology field school fee structure
UC Student non-UC student
course fee: $281 x 4 units = $1124 $351 x 4 units = $1404
campus fee: $309.09 $309.09
field fee (food, transport, etc.): $1400 1400
Total: $2833.09 $3113.09

Students may be eligible for financial aid for summer tuition. To receive summer financial aid, students must enroll in at least 6 units total during the summer. Students can therefore enroll in 2 additional field research units under ANT 198  (in addition to the 4 unit ANT 181L field course). Note that financial aid can only be used to cover the course and campus fees but not the other field related fees. Please consult with the ANT advising office to discuss this further. More information on financial aid can be found here.

Tuition for summer sessions field courses is NOT REFUNDABLE. You will be billed and remain liable for fees even if you withdraw or cancel your enrollment in Summer Sessions Field School.

Field School Photo Gallery

These photo galleries illustrate the exceptional experiences of our Field School participants during recent years.

2019 Field School Application

Given the challenging field conditions and importance of the cultural materials, the 2019 UC Davis field school will be highly selective, admitting only eight students. Applicants should carefully specify their motivations and capacity to contribute to the effort. Letter writers should assess the student's capacity to work in challenging, remote field conditions. Students and letter writers should email their documents separately to Dr. Randy Haas at

PDF document icon UCD_FieldSchool2019_application.pdf — PDF document, 125 KB (128448 bytes)