Field School

Explore America’s Past at Historic St. Mary’s City

2021 Field School in Historical Archaeology

Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC), in association with St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), announces its 2021 Field School in Historical Archaeology. The 2021 field season will be focused on sites in the Mill Field. Located northeast of the Town Center at the heart of the colonial capital, the Mill Field takes its name from its proximity to the 17th-century mill that was critical to the town’s survival. As St. Mary’s City developed in the latter half of the 17th century, the Mill Field become home to a number of the city’s residents. The road to the mill was one of the key elements of the city’s unique Baroque plan. This portion of the city has only been nominally studied and is sure to yield significant information about the development of St. Mary’s City.

Note: HSMC continues to monitor the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Participants in the 2021 Field School in Historical Archaeology will be expected to follow protocols to maintain social distancing and ensure the health of students and staff. These protocols will be shared prior to the start of the program and will be reviewed at the start of the field school. They are subject to revaluation and update as the situation evolves.

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Research - Field School ProgramField School Program

Program Dates

June 1 – August 6

About the Program

HSMC is a state-supported, outdoor museum located at the site of Maryland’s first capital (1634–1694). The HSMC field school is the longest-running historical archaeology field school in the United States. Participants engage in an intensive, ten-week program that teaches the foundational principles of historical archaeology through hands-on excavation, laboratory work, and artifact analysis. Students learn artifact identification by working with one of the best archaeological collections of colonial and post-colonial material in the country. Throughout the program, students attend virtual lectures from leading Chesapeake scholars.

The Field School in Historical Archaeology is an ideal experience for undergraduate or graduate students concentrating in Anthropology, Archaeology, History, Museum Studies, or American Studies, or for any student with an interest in learning about the past through archaeology.


No prior archaeological experience is required for acceptance into the field school. An introductory course in anthropology, archaeology, and/or colonial history will be helpful, but is not mandatory. Archaeological fieldwork is physically demanding and requires strong communication skills; the ability to engage in sustained, strenuous teamwork is essential.

Tuition & Fees

Although the HSMC Historical Archaeology Field School is accredited through St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), a state honors college dedicated to the Liberal Arts, the field school program is open to students from any institution that accepts transferable credit. Undergraduate students may register for either Anthropology or History credits. Tuition for the eight-credit program is $1,600. An additional fee of $25 is assessed to cover the costs of materials and a commemorative T-shirt for each participating student. Graduate students should contact Director of Research and Collections Travis Parno to discuss accreditation options.

Room & Board

Housing in SMCM dormitories is available to students at a reduced rate on a first-come-first-served basis. Housing includes access to free wi-fi and laundry facilities. Students housed on campus may also enroll in one of several meal plan options available on SMCM’s campus. HSMC is within walking distance from SMCM’s campus. Transportation assistance is available for out-of-state students. Students seeking housing are encouraged to apply early. Contact Travis Parno for information about reserving a room or enrolling in a meal plan

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Research - Field School ProgramField School Program

How to Apply

The 2021 Field School in Historical Archaeology has reached its capacity. Applications are no longer being accepted for the program. Check back next spring for information about the 2022 program.

Research - Field School ProgramField School Program