GVSU Archaeology and Ethnography Field Schools

50 Years of Archaeology

50 Years

Upcoming Field Schools

Summer 2022



ANT 307: Ethnographic Field School

Anthropologists have studied festivals since the discipline's very early days, from Mardi Gras and Carnaval to Holi, el Día de los Muertos, Burning Man and Coachella. This spring semester we'll be conducting research at a festival that has been an essential part of the Grand Rapids community for over 50 years, the Festival of the Arts. The Festival of the Arts is held downtown in early June each year and combines visual arts, live music, literature and multicultural food booths in an annual event that the Library of Congress has recognized as the largest all-volunteer arts festival in the United States. Students will conduct ethnographic fieldwork, including surveys, focus groups, interviews and participant-observation, to enhance Festival organizers' own understandings of the makeup and motivations of the volunteers who make Festival happen. This is a rare opportunity to explore and contribute to one of Grand Rapids' signature annual events while earning GVSU credits and gaining experience in the field. This field school, which fulfills the field experience requirement for the Anthropology major, is open to all GVSU majors and may be particularly beneficial to fine arts, sociology, hospitality and tourism management, integrative studies and film majors.

During Spring 2022, ANT 307 will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00-3:20pm in LMH 249 on the Allendale campus. There will be additional required hours outside of class meetings devoted to independent and group research activities, including data gathering, processing, and analysis in on-campus and off-campus settings in Allendale and Grand Rapids.

Students enrolled in both the 3-credit section (Section 101) and 6-credit section (Section 102) will be expected to be present during all class meetings and involved in research activities. Students in the 6-credit section will be expected to commit to additional weekly contact hours devoted to research activities on- and off-campus.


Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts

Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts

2018-2021 Field Schools


2021 Archaeological Field School

The 2021 Archaeological Field School will explore the history of the Eastmanville Farms Park. Now an Ottawa County Park, this property was once home to the Ottawa County Poor Farm. The Poor Farm was established in 1866 with the goal of providing needy residents a home while they aided in working the land. The farm provided social services to residents in various capacities until 2000.

If you have any questions please email Gwyn Madden ([email protected]) or Heather Van Wormer ([email protected])

2019 Ethnographic Field School

The Anthropology summer ethnographic field school 2019 will explore patterns of substance use among GVSU students. The field school is designed to provide training in the application of research methods. Students will learn participant observation, ethnographic survey, open-ended interviews, social mapping, and focus group discussion. The final product of the field school will be a working paper with recommendation for administration and ACES program to understand and improve services for students.

Instructor: Dr. Kristin Hedges ([email protected])

2018 West Michigan Archaeology

West Michigan Archaeological Field School
Focus of the 2018 GVSU field school will continue work begun in 2006 exploring landscape use and Pre-Columbian contact occupation along the Muskegon River in the area of the Muskegon State Game Area. Over 70 years of archaeological research in the area yielded evidence of occupation by Native Americans for at least 5,000 years.  This field school will train students in a variety of archaeological field methods including pedestrian, shovel testing, GIS and geophysical survey, test excavation, data recording and preliminary analysis of remains from a variety of sites including an earthen enclosure, a village site, small camp sites and cache pit sites.

Dates:  First 6 weeks Spring term May 7-June 19

Study Abroad- Ukraine Anthropology

Borshchiv, Ukraine — The study abroad program in Ukraine is designed to educate students about the relationship between the environment and human beings. The courses will focus on how human activity has been shaped by the environment, as well as how humans have re-shaped the environment. Ukraine is a place where human and environmental interaction has experienced dramatic change several times throughout history, from the first farmers in the region to the 1986 tragedy at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Courses in the program will highlight the crucial parameters of our interaction with nature, which shape both our biological and social development. The “Culture and Environment” course (part of the Man and Environment theme requirement) will be devoted to the study of human impacts, variability of experience in different environments, and environmental determinants of human cultures.

Dates:  June 30th-August 3rd

Page last modified March 25, 2022