GVSU Archaeology and Ethnography Field Schools

2024 Field School

5Summer 2024



ANT 307: Ethnographic Field School

This spring semester students will participate in equity focused research through the Rapid Ethnographic Assessment (REA) method working with local organization(s) and their communities. Data will be collected to help in problem solving emerging needs and associated policy decisions. REA act to decolonize anthropology, shifting power dynamics into the hands of the community/stakeholders. Practical skills employed in data collection may include digital study, narrative mapping, intercept survey, participant observation, active listening, and in-depth interview. Students will transcribe interviews, participate in field work debriefings, analysis (coding), and report writing. REA is a team-based form of research where students will be involved in all aspects from data collection to report writing. As this is a field course, 150 hours are required to fulfill the course requirements. (Appropriate IRB approval will be obtained prior to the start of research activities.)

During Spring 2024, ANT 307 will meet on Monday through Thursday, 9:00-3:00pm on the Allendale campus.


50 Years of Archaeology

50 Years

2018-2022 Field Schools


ANT 307: Archaeological Field School

Campus Archaeology: Blendon Landing
Project Director: Steven Dorland, Ph.D. Project Faculty & Staff:  Heather VanWormer, Ph.D., & Wesley Jackson.
Faculty, staff, and students explored field techniques and laboratory methods in this multi-faceted field school experience.  Students will learn shovel test pit data collection, unit excavations, artifact and data collection, cataloging artifacts and mapping on the historic Blendon Landing Lumber Community. Students will also explore the colonial history of the lands and engage with community members whose ancestors have remained connected to these lands for thousands of years.

2022 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. The 2022 field school researched 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 conducted 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.

2021 Archaeological Field School

The 2021 Archaeological Field School explored 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 explored patterns of substance use among GVSU students. The field school was designed to provide training in the application of research methods. Students learned participant observation, ethnographic survey, open-ended interviews, social mapping, and focus group discussion. The final product of the field school, a working paper with recommendation for administration, was submitted to  the 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 May 20, 2024