Message #78:

From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG

To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 

Subject: SOPA Field School Certification Program

Date: Sun, 09 Feb 1997 18:39:02 -0700

MIME-Version: 1.0

From:	Michael Adler

This notice is being posted to several discussion lists and bulletin

boards related to archaeology and education.  Please forgive any

cross-posting that may have duplicated your receipt of this notice.



Each year dozens of archaeology field schools offer field and laboratory

experiences to undergraduate, graduate, and avocational students in

archaeology.  This pedagogical context is central to every student's

understanding and use of 

archaeological methods, theories, and ethics.  Field schools also

provide an important connection to non-specialists in that many

archaeology field school participants choose not to pursue a

professional degree in archaeology after their field school experience,

and this single field school experience remains the most distinctive

singular experience those people have in archaeology.  Given the

importance of the field school experience to our discipline, field

schools should aspire to our highest professional standards in research

methods and professional ethics.

Beginning in 1996, the Society of Professional Archaeologists initiated

a field school certification program to encourage the increased

professionalization of archaeology field education programs.  The

certification program has two primary aims.  The first is to ensure that

the professional and ethical standards included in the charters of the

major professional organizations in archaeology are taught and practiced

in archaeology field schools.  The second is to provide a means by which

students and interested individuals can learn about those field programs

that offer curricula meeting these professional standards.

The certification program's will provide a pro-active context within

which we can further professionalize one of our most important teaching

and research contexts.  The certification program is designed so that it

will complement, but not compete with, the established directories of

field school opportunities that currently exist, including the American

Institute of Archaeology (AIA) field opportunities 

publication, the Archaeology Fieldwork Server, or other information

outlets.  Certified field programs will be indicated as having met the

professional standards outlined in the SOPA charter.  The certification

program does not discriminate against field schools that are not

directly affiliated with academic departments.  Certification is based

upon the use of an explicit research design to guide field 

school fieldwork, required writing and lecture components in the field

school, program leadership by a professional archaeologist with an

advanced degree, and other criteria that do not depend upon an academic


The certification process includes the completion of an application form

and supplementary documentation.  Application forms are available on the

internet (see address below) or can be requested from SOPA.  The

application requests field school directors to outline how field school

participants are introduced to fundamental methods, ethics, and skills

in archaeology.  A copy of the field school's research design must also

accompany the application, and a 25$ application fee is also required. 

Applications are reviewed by the SOPA Field School Certification

Committee.  A majority vote for acceptance within the committee is 

necessary for certification.  The committee is nominated each year by

the SOPA President.  The 1996-1997 Field School Certification Committee

includes myself, Susan Henry Renaud, Rochelle Marrinan, Mike Rodeffer

and Sheli Smith.

We invite all directors of archaeology field schools to participate in

the field school certification program.  Applications and additional

information about the program are available at the SOPA home page:

and can also be obtained through a direct request to the program chair

at the address below.

We look forward to working with everyone interested in the common goal

of improving the field school experience and making it a uniformly

professional one for all future field school students.  Given that this

is the initial year of the program we also ask for your thoughts on how

we can improve the program to meet the needs of the professional

archaeology community.  


Prof. Michael Adler

Department of Anthropology

Southern Methodist University

Dallas, TX 75275-0336