Past Field Schools

Rice University
Archaeological Field School
Gorée Island, Senegal

June 01 –July 17, 2007 (6 credit hours)

June 20 - July 17, 2007 (3 credit hours)


In 2007, the small island town of Gorée, located off the coast of Senegal just a short ferry-ride away from the capital of Dakar, will be the focus of a six-week field school in historical archaeology and laboratory analysis. Renowned as an island from which West African slaves were shipped to the New World, Gorée Island is a remarkable field site for historical archaeological investigation. Its significance is underscored by its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage site list. The 2007 excavations are part of an ongoing investigation into the growth and development of Gorée into a supply port for the Atlantic trade, occupied and serviced by a polycultural population of slaves, Europeans, mainland Africans, and mixed-race, high-caste women known as signares.


Two courses will be taught for a total of six hours Rice credit:

Anth 364: Historical Archaeology Field Techniques  - 3 hours
This course offers field instruction in methods used in archaeology generally and historical archaeology in particular.  It emphasizes practical instruction in excavation  and data collection techniques, as well as recording methods, including drawing and site photography.  Excavation takes place daily, Mon-Fri, from 7:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Anth 370: Archaeological Laboratory Techniques and Analysis  - 3 hours
The techniques of processing, recording, and conserving archaeological materials recovered from excavation, and their preliminary analysis, are emphasized in this course.  Since many of the artifacts recovered will be imports from Europe, students will learn to identify the source area and production date of different types of imports.   Lab activities take place daily Mon-Fri 2:30–5:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.

For students arriving in mid-June, the three credit hours for the three-week program are applied to Anth 364 only.


The Field School's principal instructor is Dr. Ibrahima Thiaw (Rice University, IFAN-Ch-A. Diop laboratory).  Also participating will be Dr. Susan McIntosh (Rice University), and Dr. François Richard (Rice University).

Affiliated Faculty:
Dr. Alexander Byrd,   History Department, Rice University
      History of the Atlantic slave trade
Dr. Christopher DeCorse, Anthropology Department, Syracuse University
African Historical Archaeology – the identification of European trade goods at African sites
Dr Michael Blakey, Director, Program in Historical Biology, College of
William and Mary – specialist in analysis of human skeletons; coordinator of the African Diaspora osteological database
Dr. Roderick McIntosh, Anthropology Department, Yale University, West African archaeology


The cost of the field school is $3,900 for tuition, room, board, and local, program-related travel between Dakar and Gorée.  Also included are a three-day orientation program, introductory Wolof language classes, and a trip to the Sine-Saloum region.  International health insurance (required) and transportation to and from Dakar, Senegal are additional.   

Refund policy:  if the student withdraws before 1 May, but after assumption of expenses such as air tickets, housing deposits, etc, the student pays actual costs incurred.

Withdrawal after 1 May but before 30 May:  actual costs plus 50% tuition

Withdrawal after 1 June start date: no refund

There are no specific pre-requisites admission to the field school, there is a general requirement that participants have prior course work in EITHER African history or archaeology. A student without any background in archaeology will be required to do extra preparatory reading (Fagan, 1999, Archaeology, A Brief Introduction). GPA must be 3.0 or better. Excavation involves fairly vigorous physical labor: digging, scraping, lifting, climbing. Students must be physically able to undertake all these activities. No language preparation is required, although French language skills are useful.


31 May      arrival in Dakar Senegal
1-3 June    on-site cultural orientation in -Dakar, Wolof language instruction
4–23 June --Gorée
24-26 June  Trip to Sine-Saloum               
27 June-
16 July 
17 July        Field School ends: Depart Gorée


MARCH 15, 2007

For more photos of Goree and the 2005 Goree field school and information on the research go to

You may download application forms here.

Please contact Professor Susan McIntosh, Anthropology ( for any further information.