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.
My field school experience here at Northwestern Michigan College for the last 3 years has been excellent. In just a few short days they are able to teach you fully the basics of Nautical Archaeology and then you go out and put your training to the test on sites in the field. Plus you are working in one of the most beautiful locations in the Great Lakes region.
What skills did you learn?
During the field school you will learn from the ground up on basic surveying and site report procedures. You will also be using different equipment such as a total station and if you choose to survey an underwater site this year you will be able to use a side scan sonar to image the lake bed. More advanced training includes the use of ROV's and Sector Scan sonar.
How were accommodations?
Students live in the Northwestern Michigan College dormitory which is on the main campus, or they can choose to stay at hotels, the dorms are always cheaper though. The dorms have wifi internet and shared bathrooms. There is a recreational area on the first floor with a big screen TV and video game consoles.
What are the pros and cons of the field school? Would you recommend it?
The pros of this field school are you will learn in depth surveying of sites both ashore and underwater techniques, you will be joined by students from all over the world and have the opportunity to network with them and the instructors, and of course you will be a Nautical Archaeological Society (NAS) certified archaeologist by the end of your training in the part 1 course, there is also the opportunity to complete a part 2 certification. Also you do not need to be a scuba diver to attend this field school, there is plenty of work to be done on shore or you can snorkel above sites.
The cons of this field school are if you have your heart set on excavations you wont be doing any here. By Michigan law you cannot excavate anything without a permit from the state which is an incredibly difficult process. You will be surveying sites only and making your reports from there.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this field school to anyone who is a first time field school student or is interested in learning more about Nautical Archaeology. The NAS part 1 certification is a great way to get your foot in the door to the Nautical Archaeology field and the instructors will guide you along the way including writing letters of recommendations to schools and potential jobs.
Anything else you think readers should know about this field school?
Something students should know is this field school is a combined effort between Northwestern Michigan College and the Nautical Archaeological Society in Great Britain. While attending the school students will have the opportunity to earn both part 1 and 2 certifications and take part 3 courses. Part 1 is the basics of Nautical Archaeology, part 2 is writing up and publishing a full report on any site you choose, and part 3 courses are the advanced courses.