A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
The challenge of field schools
One of the major attractions of archaeology is the opportunity the profession affords for fieldwork. A field school is an essential component of every archaeology student's course of study, not just because archaeologists are attracted by the prospect of physical activity in the great outdoors, however appealing that prospect might be, or even the possibility of making a Great Discovery. What is most appealing is that the acts of excavation and survey, even when tedious and painstaking, involve constant, continuing intellectual challenges of interpretation. Field experience allows an archaeology student to appreciate the data--the gritty, hard-won evidence of past human behavior-- on which theories may be built.
James Wiseman is a contributing editor to ARCHAEOLOGY and is professor of archaeology, art history, and classics at Boston University.