FIELD SCHOOL & WEBSITE: Nautical Archaeological Society International Field School at Northwestern Michigan College
OTHER LINKS: Check out a video from the 2014 field school, or their Facebook page.
LOCATION: Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, Michigan
AFFILIATIONS: Nautical Archaeological Society, Northwestern Michigan College
CURRENT PROJECT: Participants will assist with an archaeological survey of the Northport wreck,
located in 4-8 meters of water in Lake Michigan. The survey will document the nature, extent,
history, and condition of the site. The project is appropriate for both novice divers and snorkelers.
STAFF: Staff includes instructors from Northwestern Michigan College, Grand Valley State University,
Michigan Tech, the Nautilus Marine Group, and Nautical Archaeological Society tutors.
LENGTH & DATES: July 12th - 26th, 2015. Week 1 (7/12 - 7/18) includes basic courses, and Week 2
(7/20 - 7/27) includes advanced courses.
COST: Accommodation in the Northwestern Michigan College dorms costs $50/night. The Week 1 basic
course package is $1,299, and the Week 2 advanced course package is $1,399. Alternatively, you
can sign up for individual courses. Meals are not included.
CREDIT AVAILABLE: Both the NAS Part 1 and NAS Part 2 courses qualify for credit at Northwestern
Michigan College. Credits transfer to most major universities.
APPLICATION PROCESS: The course booking form and payment can be submitted as described here.
Tell us about your field school experience.
I am fortunate to live in the Grand Traverse area and have been involved with the field school since 2010. Because of the field school's affiliation with the Nautical Archaeology Society in Great Britain, I have earned three certifications and am working on my Part IV diploma. The instructors have all been top notch in their areas of expertise and have even extended assistance to me well after the field school experience.
What skills did you learn?
Skills I have learned are just too numerous to list all of them. To list a few, I can write and implement a project plan, operate a total station used to survey piers, shipwrecks, and a lighthouse. I have also learned the techniques of artifact illustration and the ship and boat construction course helps you to identify artifacts and remains of a shipwreck. I have had the opportunity to build and operate an underwater ROV, use sector scan sonar and learn the ancient technology of flint napping.
What are the pros and cons of this field school?
The pros of this field school is that it has given me the opportunity to continue using my skills by working on various underwater and foreshore archaeological projects in my community. I have worked on survey projects at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Skegemog Point and Grand Traverse Bay. I cannot think of any cons.
Anything else you think readers should know about this field school?
The attendees have been a mix of college undergrads, professionals, teachers, local residents and those interested in maritime archaeology as a hobby. My experiences have been that we all come together and work as a team, learning and having some fun at the same time.
For those attending who do not have a vehicle, there are plenty of convenience stores, fast food and restaurant options within walking distance of NMC. We also have a great bus transit system.
I pursue nautical archaeology as a hobby with a purpose and continually go back each year to the field school to gain field work experience, practice my skills, assist other students and work towards my Part IV diploma.