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UND Home > Anthropology Research

anthropology research

Grand Forks, ND

Archeological Field School

A course offered by the UND Department of Anthropology and Anthropology Research.

Beadmaker site feature excavationsGPS mapping, Camp Grafton NorthSoil profiling work at the Horner-Kane site


The 2010 Field School Announcement is online!!



General Information

Total station mapping at On-A-Slant VillageField Techniques in Archeology (Anthropology 380) is a course where students learn the basics of sound archeological field methods. Field school students will receive hands-on instruction in the use of various kinds of field equipment and techniques of excavation and artifact recovery, site mapping, documentation, and record keeping. Field trips are usually planned for nearby archeological and historical sites of interest.

The course is offered as a six-week class (6 semester-hour credits) that usually lasts from early June to mid-July. To provide greater flexibility for our students, a short four-week class (4 semester-hour credits) may also be offered. If funds are available, students will be instructed as interns and paid a living stipend, to help defray the costs of the field school.

The course instructor is Dr. Dennis L. Toom, a Research Archeologist for UND Anthropology Research with over 20 years experience working in the Northern Great Plains. Dr. Toom will be assisted by various faculty and staff of the Department of Anthropology and Anthropology Research.

There are usually opportunities for paid summer employment in archaeology after the field school for individuals who have successfully completed the course. We should be able to offer students paid positions on other research projects immediately after the field school concludes.


Test unit excavations, Camp Grafton SouthWaterscreening excavated sedimentsWater screened artifacts recovered from On-A-Slant Village


Upcoming Field School

The 2010 field school announcement is now online. The field school will involve 3-4 weeks of intensive survey and mapping work in the North Dakota Badlands, and 2-3 weeks of test excavation work in the Grand River valley of western South Dakota.


Past Field Schools

2009. Ebert/Elkhorn Ranch Survey and Mapping, and South Dakota Excavations, Billings County, ND, and Perkins County, SD.

Students conducted survey work in the Little Missouri River badlands. They also did precision mapping work at the Elkhorn Ranch, Theodore Roosevelt's principal ranch in the Badlands during the 1880s. In South Dakota, they carried out test excavations at three archeological sites along the North Fork of the Grand River.

2008. Ebert Ranch Survey and Jamestown Reservoir Excavations, Billings and Stutsman Counties, ND.

Students conducted survey work in the bottomlands of the Little Missouri River, and in adjoining Badlands terrain. At Jamestown Reservoir, they undertook deep test excavations at the Fairbanks site, a Middle Plains Archaic campsite.

Badlands topography

2004-2005. Camp Grafton North, Camp Grafton South, and Williston Local Training Area Sites, Ramsey and Williams Counties, ND.

Students carried out test excavations at various artifact scatter and stone circle (tipi ring) sites.

Hearth feature excavation at the Elbee site

2003. Elbee (32ME408) and Beadmaker (32GT238) Sites, Mercer and Grant Counties, ND.

Students excavated small block units into subsurface features identified by magnetometer survey at the Elbee site. At the Beadmaker site, a Mandan summer camp, and large block unit was excavated along the eroding river cutbank, exposing numerous hearth and other features.

Small block unit excavations

2002. Bivouac Site (32RY189), Ramsey County, ND.

Students excavated two block units into a Middle Woodland campsite on the shores of Devils Lake, ND.

Block Unit 1 excavation into the fortification ditch in progress

2000-2001. On-A-Slant Village (32MO26), Morton County, ND.

Students excavated a large block unit into the fortification ditch, recovering hundreds of thousands of artifacts, and exposing evidence of four episodes of ditch building.


Contact Information

For more information, please contact Dr. Toom in person (Babcock Hall, Room 304), by phone (701-777-2437), or via email (

updated 6 February 2009

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