3CC6 Archaeological Field School
Take part in a 6-week archaeological excavation at Coote's Paradise in the Royal Botanical Gardens. This 6-credit course provides all the required experience needed to work as an archaeologist in cultural resource management. Students will also acquire new laboratory, analytical and research skills.
The Archaeological Field School takes place at the Nursery Site, located in Hamilton, Ontario on the north shore of the Cootes Paradise marsh within the property of the Royal Botanical Gardens. Undergraduate students from McMaster have been working at this site since 2006 and 2009, under the direction of Dr. Scott Martin, and 2010 and 2011 under the direction of Meghan Burchell. Although the precise date of the earliest occupation is unknown, it is believed that the site is at least 3000 years old based on the presence of Archaic style projectile points. The site was also occupied during post-European contact era, and as a farmstead prior to the establishment of the Royal Botanical Gardens in 1930.
Field school students have uncovered glacial deposits from earlier shorelines, features such as pits and posts, as well as a suite of artifacts, including pre-contact ceramics, lithics and faunal materials. Examples of historic artifacts include ceramics, metals, glass trade beads, as well as military paraphernalia that may be associated with conflicts between Upper Canada and the United States, such as the Battle of Stoney Creek and the War of 1812.
There are 18 archaeological sites located within a two-kilometer radius of the Nursery Site, and some are associated with the 'Princess Point Culture'. The Princess Point complex has been identified based on cord-wrapped stick impressed patterns on pottery and triangular arrow points, in addition to other types of stone tools.
The Archaeological Field School provides hands-on experience in the methods and techniques of archaeological excavation. Following legislation set forth by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage in Ontario, this course teaches students the required elements of archaeological field practice for both professional (CRM) and research-based archaeology. While most of the time is spent in the field conducting excavation, time is also devoted to learning new laboratory practices, analytical techniques and refining research skills.
By the end of the course, students will be capable of participating in the full spectrum of archaeological practice, specifically survey, mapping, excavation, research, analysis and report writing.
A Day in the Field
The course will being each day at 9am and work will continue until about 3:45pm. There will be a morning and/or afternoon break (15 minutes) and a lunch break at 12pm (1 hour). In addition to days spent in the field, students will also spend time in the McMaster archaeology labs. As work permits, there may also be field trips to other local archaeology sites, museums, and research facilities.
Although outdoor work will not take place if there is lightening (or serious potential for lightening), students should be prepared to work in a range of weather conditions, including light rain.
Registration and Tuition Details
**Please note that the field school will not run in 2013. It will return again in the Spring of 2014* Registration for this 6-credit course is done online through SOLAR (via MUGSI). See the Office of the Registrar for details and dates for registration in Spring/Summer courses.
Tuition is the equivalent of a regular 6-credit course through McMaster and is paid through McMaster Student Accounts and Cashiers. There will also be an equipment fee, approximately $30.