Field School

Explore America’s Past at Historic St. Mary’s City


2019 Field School in Historical Archaeology



Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC), in association with St. Mary’s College of Maryland, announces its 2019 Field School in Historical Archaeology. The 2019 field season will be focused on the Calvert House site. Located in Town Center at the heart of the colonial capital, the Calvert House site takes its name from its earliest resident, colonial governor Leonard Calvert, who commissioned its construction soon after the colony was founded in 1634. In addition to its role as the first Governor’s residence, the Calvert House was the meeting place for several of the early Provincial Assemblies.


In 1645, the house was fortified by a band of rebels led by Richard Ingle during a short-lived takeover. After Leonard Calvert’s death in 1647, the structure became home to the colony’s third governor, William Stone, who occupied it until his death in 1659. The province bought the house in 1662 and it became the first statehouse of Maryland. Because the Assembly and courts met infrequently, the colony leased the building to a series of innkeepers beginning in the 1660s and by the late 17th century, the Calvert House became the social center of the town.


As a site that during the 17th century served as a home, a fort, a statehouse, and an inn, the Leonard Calvert House offers the opportunity to study many aspects of early colonial life. Excavations in the yards immediately adjacent to the Calvert House will explore the many post-holes, fences, and other cultural features associated with the structure, as well as provide a plethora of artifacts to contribute to the understanding of this critically important site.




Program Dates:

May 28 – August 3



About the Program

HSMC is a state-supported, outdoor museum located at the site of Maryland’s first capital (1634–1694). The HSMC field school is the longest-running historical archaeology field school in the United States. Participants engage in an intensive, ten-week program that teaches the foundational principles of historical archaeology through hands-on excavation, laboratory work, and artifact analysis. Students learn artifact identification by working with one of the best archaeological collections of colonial and post-colonial material in the country.


Throughout the program, students attend lectures from leading Chesapeake scholars and take field trips to area archaeological sites. Students also receive the rare opportunity to learn about 17th-century sailing firsthand aboard the Maryland Dove, a replica of a 17th-century square-rigged tobacco ship.


The Historical Archaeology Field School is an ideal experience for undergraduate or graduate students concentrating in Anthropology, Archaeology, History, Museum Studies, or American Studies, or for any student with an interest in learning about the past through archaeology.



To read more about how HSMC’s field school program has grown and changed over the years, explore the “Brief History of the Historic St. Mary’s City Field School in Historical Archaeology.”


To hear what past participants had to say about their experiences at the HSMC Historical Archaeology Field School, read their impressions here: “Looking Back and Thinking Forward.


To learn more about the process and results from past field school seasons, check out the “Dispatches from the Field School” blog.




No prior archaeological experience is required for acceptance into the field school. An introductory course in anthropology, archaeology, and/or colonial history will be helpful, but is not mandatory. Archaeological fieldwork is physically demanding and requires strong communication skills; the ability to engage in sustained, strenuous teamwork is essential.




Tuition and Fees

Although the HSMC Historical Archaeology Field School is accredited through St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), a state honors college dedicated to the Liberal Arts, the field school program is open to students from any institution that accepts transferable credit. Undergraduate students may register for either Anthropology or History credits. Tuition for the eight-credit program is $1,600. An additional fee of $75 is assessed to cover the costs of field trips and a commemorative T-shirt for each participating student. Graduate students should contact Director of Research and Collections Travis Parno ( to discuss accreditation options.



Room and Board

Housing in SMCM dormitories is available to students at a reduced rate on a first-come-first-served basis. Housing includes access to free wi-fi and laundry facilities. Students housed on campus may also enroll in one of several meal plan options available on SMCM’s campus. HSMC is within walking distance from SMCM’s campus. Transportation assistance is available for out-of-state students. Students seeking housing are encouraged to apply early. Contact Travis Parno ( for information about reserving a room or enrolling in a meal plan.




How to Apply

To apply, please submit an application that includes the following components to the e-mail address listed below:


(1)  A one-page personal statement that describes your interest in the course and your academic background, including your expected graduation date and any previous courses, experiences, or special skills relevant to your participation in the field school.


(2)  A resume or curriculum vitae that includes your contact information (both mailing addresses and phone numbers) for your university and permanent residences.


(3)  Contact information (including professional title, mailing address, and e-mail address) of two academic references.


Application documents should be submitted electronically in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format to





Application Deadline:  April 6, 2019