Archaeological field school returning to Rhode Island this summer

Salve Regina’s annual summer field school in archaeology will return to Rhode Island this year to explore the unique historical and cultural landscapes of South County and Newport.

“This year I wanted to explore some of the incredible history that we have right here in Rhode Island,” said Dr. Jon Marcoux, assistant professor in the Noreen Stonor Drexel Cultural and Historic Preservation Program. “With tons of well-preserved colonial buildings and landscapes, Newport and South County make such amazing backdrops to teach about the past.”

Participants will focus on the site of an 18th century plantation in North Kingstown to learn more about the daily lives of the enslaved people who lived and worked there. “Because archaeology is a hands-on field, we will literally be uncovering the remains of these folks’ daily lives – the tools they used, the plates they ate from, the bottles and cups they drank from,” Marcoux said.

Participants will also take field trips to historically significant sites associated with slavery in colonial Rhode Island. “My goal is for students to see how archaeology can help us to appreciate the complexity of Rhode Island’s history,” Marcoux said. “I also want them to see that many parts of the colonial landscape survive to this day, and that we need to preserve and explore these remnants to tell the full story of our shared past – including slavery.”

Marcoux’s decision to move the field school to Rhode Island this year is part of a broader strategy to make the experience accessible to as many students as possible. No previous archaeological experience is required, and Marcoux has worked with the Office of International Programs to make the program affordable.

Participants have the option to stay on campus in the Hedges or they may commute. The resident cost is $3,950 for the six-credit program and $2,695 for the three-credit program, while the commuter cost is $2,735 for the six-credit program and $1,480 for the three-credit program.

The course fulfills an elective requirement for American studies, cultural and historic preservation and sociology and anthropology majors, and a Core Curriculum requirement for all other majors.

The four-week program will run from May 22 through June 16. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Feb. 15. To learn more, see the program brochure or visit the study abroad website.

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