Affording Archaeology: How Field School Costs Promote Exclusivity

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Affording Archaeology: How Field School Costs Promote Exclusivity

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Advances in Archaeological Record


Heath-Stout, Laura; and Hannigan, Elizabeth

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Cambridge University Press




Field schools are essential for undergraduate students pursuing careers in archaeology, but they are expensive and, consequently, inaccessible to many. Although there have been efforts to rectify this through the creation of scholarships, there have been no systematic studies of the full cost of archaeological field schools. Here, we present a study of 208 field schools from 2019, including their tuition, room and board, and airfare, as well as the wages that students may lose by participating in them rather than working. We also explore how archaeologists interviewed for Heath-Stout's dissertation study of diversity issues in the discipline have navigated finding field experiences. We argue that scholarships are an ineffective and insufficient means of promoting equity and accessibility in the field because the root of the problem lies in institutionalized inequality and exclusivity. We provide strategies that students and faculty can use to address these problems on both individual and systemic levels. By making field schools affordable and accessible to a more diverse set of undergraduate students, we can create a more just and inclusive discipline.


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