Field School

2018 University of Oklahoma

Field School in Florida!


The field school will run from July 7th through August 12th. The fieldwork itself will be conducted during the 5 weeks between July 9 (Monday) and Friday August 10. The added days are for students to make their way down to and back from Florida.


We will near the Ocala National Forest, close to the town of Astor, FL. We will be living and working directly next to Silver Glen Springs, one of Florida’s most impressive freshwater springs. The field school will be led by Dr. Randall, and conducted in tandem with the University of Florida St. Johns Archaeological Field School, directed by Dr. Ken Sassaman.

Project Description:

We will be excavating sites on the St. Johns River in Northeast Florida, specifically on Lake George. These sites date between the Middle Archaic (9000‐5000 years ago) to the Mississippi Period (1000 years ago), and are characterized by freshwater shell deposits. These archaeological sites, like most along the St. Johns River, were heavily impacted by land development in the past century (shell was actively sought after for construction and road fill). Our goal for this summer of this long‐term project is to document the spaces between large shell mounds impacted by shell mining.

As a field school student you will spend the week days in several aspects of archaeology, including:

  • Stratigraphic Excavations: Excavation units will be tested around shell mounds, in search for architectural evidence. You will learn how to excavate, recognize and document features, and record the color and composition of the different stratigraphic layers.
  • Topographic Mapping: you will learn how to use a surveyor’s Total Mapping Station, as well as GPS to map surface finds, create detailed topographic maps, and locate excavation areas.
  • Shovel Testing: you will learn how to excavate, screen, and document shovel test pits. These are the primary way through which archaeological sites are discovered. Based on past experience, you will likely encounter stone tools, shell tools, and pottery from a variety of different cultural traditions.
  • Soil Sampling: you will learn how to retrieve soil samples using bucket augers and other soil samplers.
  • Remote sensing: we hope to be able to use ground penetrating radar and other remote sensing techniques during the summer, and you will get first‐hand experience with those machines.
  • Laboratory Work: The afternoons and evenings will be spent analyzing the soil samples and materials that we have excavated during the field season. You will have lots of opportunities to work with artifact collections.
  • Lectures: The evenings will be punctuated with lectures on topics of significance related to the ongoing work and interpretation of the project.

Weekend Field Trips! We will also take a few field trips on the weekend to local archaeological and cultural sites of interest. In past years we have visited historic St. Augustine, the famous Crystal River site, Homosassa Springs, and the town of Cedar Key.


The cost of the field school involves 5 OU credit hours, in addition to a $850 course fee for food, travel, and replacement of expendables. There will be minor expenses with respect to weekend field trips (lunch should you want to buy your own, etc).

Want to Apply?

Contact Dr. Randall ( for an application.

Due Dates:

Due date for applications is March 16, 2018 by 5 PM. Students will be notified about admission decisions by April 16, 2018. The course fee will be due by check on May 1, 2018. Submission of the application does not guarantee a spot in the field school. Completed applications can be dropped off in the Anthropology Department Main Office (5th Floor, Dale Hall Tower), or emailed to Dr. Randall (