ANTH 189: Archaeological Field Methods

Anth189 students do archaeological field work.


ANTH189 includes laboratory and fieldwork sessions on archaeological methods including survey, mapping, excavation, record and database maintenance, artifact accessioning, curation, and analysis on the UCSC campus. Students attend laboratories each week and do fieldwork all day on Saturdays.  Readings and reports are also considered in evaluations as described in the syllabus.

Labs: Students must attend on-campus lab sessions each week (sections TBD). There will be no lab sessions during the first week of instruction.

Spring 2018 Application


-Application Due February 21, 2018
Spring, 2018 - Sections TBD

 Field Work: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
                    (1/2 hour break, mid-session)
                    Field work is at the Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe in Watsonville.

Students must apply to take this course. Prerequisite: ANTHRO 3.

General Education Code(s): PR-E
This course satisfies the Practice - Collaborative Endeavor (PR-E) General Education requirement.

To apply for this course, please complete the application at this link by February 21, 2018.

  • The focus of this class is Historical Archaeology and Cultural Resources Management (CRM).
  • Most tools will be provided. Students must bring their own Marshalltown Trowel, Tape Measure, and Clip Board.  There is a $25 course materials fee.
  • Attendance at ALL lab and ALL field meetings is MANDATORY!! Do not apply to take this class unless you are willing to give up ALL of your Saturdays ALL of Spring Quarter.
  • No field experience is necessary. Must be able to lift 25 pounds and be willing to get dirty! 

Learning Objectives:

1.      Obtain a working understanding of a variety of survey techniquesincluding compass and pace, transect survey, optical transit set up and use, total station (EDM) set up and use, EDM software and mapping, handheld Trimble set up and use, site gridding, triangulation techniques, ground penetrating radar (GPR), post-hole survey, survey form completion, and artifact identification in the field.

2.      Obtain a working knowledge of archaeological excavation techniques including site clearing, triangulation, test pit set up, troweling, arbitrary 10cm excavation, plan mapping, profile mapping, screening, note taking, and artifact identification in the field.

3.      Obtain a working knowledge of artifact identification, processing, analysis, and computer database development including collection and processing of soil samples and flotation samples; artifact inventory, cataloging, and classification; database development and entry.

4.      Obtain experience writing a CRM Report of Findings.

5.      Obtain an understanding of what it means to conduct a community archaeology project. Skills regarding this objective include having conversations with interested stakeholders, conducting more formal interviews giving site tours, etc.

The Field Site:

Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe

The Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is also a California Historical Landmark (Number 998). Between 1833 and 1846, Mexican governors awarded approximately 700 land grants in California, several of these to naturalized citizens (Cleland 1975). One of these recipients was Jose Joaquin Castro, a soldier recruit from Sonora, one among the many that can be counted as a founding settler of Alta California. Castro, along with his family, was a member of the Anza expedition of 1775. While some is known about Juan José Castro, his family, and theiraccomplishments (see Kimbro et al. 2003), very little is known about the Indian laborers who participated in daily life at the Castro Adobe. California Indians lived on and off rancho land and performed much of the manual labor for the Castro Family. The Castro family lived and work at Rancho San Andrés until 1883, when the Hansen Family purchased the Castro Adobe. Overtime, the building and lands changed hands fifteen times, the last time being the acquisition of the one-acre parcel by California State Parks in 2002.