Participants will learn archaeological field methods, including excavation, screening, sorting multiple classes of floral, faunal, and artifactual remains, survey and mapping, coring, and other common techniques for field data acquisition. Students will also learn a variety of laboratory skills, particularly with paleobotanical and faunal materials using the excellent facilities at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Our emphasis will be on collaborative, interdisciplinary scientific research and skills.

Our usual schedule will be filled by excavations three days per week (Mondays-Wednesdays), laboratory processing/research (Thursdays), and field trips to sites of archaeological and ecological interest on Kaua`i on Saturdays. Fridays and Sundays will normally be our days off, allowing students to visit the many attractions on the island, and spend time enjoying activities such as hiking, surfing, snorkeling, or just relaxing.

Students will have library and internet access at the Garden, with on-line privileges with the University of Hawaii library system.

Field and laboratory work will be complemented by the lecture course in Hawaiian Natural History (ZOOL 450),an Archaeological Field Methods course ANTH 381 (or 668 for graduate students) guest lectures, and several ecology and archaeology-focused field trips. Among these field trips, we plan to visit the spectacular Na Pali Coast (by special boat access), the irrigated pondfields (lo`i) at Limahuli, as well as other locations of environmental and archaeological significance. Our field trips will integrate learning natural history, with ecological, cultural, and archaeological topics.

We recommend that students enroll for the two courses offered, the Archaeological Field Methods course ANTH 381 (or 668 for graduate students) and Hawaiian Natural History, ZOOL 450, for a total of 9 semester credit hours.


We assume students have no prior experience in archaeology, paleoecology, or other kinds of field research.

Introductory courses in archaeology or in the natural sciences will be helpful, but they are not required for acceptance and successful participation in the program.

Archaeological field work is demanding, tedious, and based on teamwork, so students should be prepared. A willingness to work hard, cooperate with others, and maintain a positive attitude are important qualities for participants in this program.

Students will be selected for the program based on academic excellence, professional motivation, and an ability to work and live well in a communal setting.

Field and Living Conditions

Students will live in shared housing, including some camping in tents on the grounds adjacent to the field house. Students will share cooking and cleaning responsibilities in this communal setting.

The weather on Kaua`i in the summer is warm and humid, with frequent rain showers in some areas. Temperatures range from lows around 73 degrees to highs in the upper 80’s.

Participants must have good shoes (e.g. hiking boots), be prepared for sudden rainfall, and protect themselves from exposure to intense sun. For excavations, students should be prepared to get wet and muddy.


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