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Some students need to take the road less traveled. Classroom experience is simply not enough. These students seek to challenge both body and mind in the pursuit of knowledge. They wish to enhance their academic careers and at the same time, hope to gain life experience that furthers their education in ways unavailable on most university campuses. Are you one of these students?

At the IFR, we embrace these distinctive learners. We provide students with the opportunity to join a leading group of archaeologists as they embark on expeditions of discovery throughout the world. Students expand their knowledge of the past, explore cultures vastly different than their own, and deepen their understanding of themselves by participating in archaeological fieldwork. It is the kind of academically rigorous, intellectually rewarding and physically demanding endeavor that asks of all its participants to dig deeper.  

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Archaeologists conduct fieldwork at all four corners of the world. So it should come as no surprise that the IFR offers field schools in distinctive locations throughout the globe and within the US. Each field school reflects the culture, histories and character of the region, including the language, environment, resources and food. In addition, each field school has its own set of research practices, from survey and excavations to conservation and ethnoarchaeolgy. We invite you to explore the unique and diverse field schools the IFR offers. The collection of sites and countries may read like a travel brochure of incredible adventure. But make no mistake about the choice of settings and the activity involved – all are places of archaeological and academic excellence.




Out here taking a college course takes on a whole new meaning. Comforts of the dorm and formalities of the classroom are nowhere to be found. The curriculum involves physical work, sturdy tools and sensitive state-of-the-art equipment. Concentration and imagination are required. The learning is hands-on, from surveying and mapping to data gathering, analysis and reporting.

Out here nothing is kickback or laidback. Everything is engaging and enriching. Together, with a handful of like-minded co-eds you will unearth the past, discovering not only ancient ways of life and long gone civilizations, but also revelations about yourself and your ability to engage in such an intensive and absorbing experience. What you take away lasts a lifetime.


Out here is home to the IFR and a faculty of some of the world’s leading archaeologists. Their investigations and excavations are extraordinary. The approach is similar to a graduate program; intimate, inclusive and collaborative. Indeed, if you have an aptitude for the discipline, a certain penchant for exploration and discovery, or just the inclination to challenge your mind and body, then dig in to this website and find out more. 


Our field schools are transformative, authentic, and immersive. They often are located in remote places. The research can be painstakingly detailed. Teamwork and collaboration are always critically important. So it is not uncommon for students to ask themselves at some point, “What am I really getting into here?”

To help answer this and other related questions, or as we like to say, “help you dig deeper”, we have gathered some first-hand accounts. Finding out what others have to say about their IFR experience will certainly add to yours.  

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Latest News

The SAA and IFR join to offer two new $1000 Scholarships

The Institute for Field Research has teamed with the Society for American Archaeology to offer two $1000 scholarships -- one for best poster and one for best paper.

For information on how to apply, click here. To view other IFR scholarships, click here.

The Institute for Field Research (IFR) was established in 2011 to break down traditional institutional barriers and deliver archaeology field schools to students regardless of the university in which they matriculate.  By working with leading scholars from universities around the world, the IFR delivers a broad range of regional and temporal programs while ensuring excellence in research and teaching through a rigorous, annual peer-review process. 

Our vision is to raise awareness and enhance the protection of our shared human past.  We seek to reinforce the idea that archaeology is a public good by fortifying the place the discipline holds in the public consciousness and imagination.  Whether taken for required fieldwork training, additional academic credits, accelerated graduation, resume-building achievements, or simply to realize a once-in-a-lifetime transformative experience, IFR field schools infuse within students a lifelong relationship with archaeology.

The IFR and SAA together will sponsor two student awards for best paper and best poster at the SAA Annual Meeting. We seek to promote the participation of young undergraduate students in the discourse of the discipline.  We wish to encourage such students to take an active part in archaeological research and to experience the intellectual challenges and great rewards associated with practicing academic archaeology.  We would like to offer early support to potential future scholars.  We also hope to produce significant incentives for faculty to work closely with students and develop research papers that dramatically enhance the academic education experiences of students both at and after the completion of a field school program.



Professor Willeke Wendrich Appointed Joan Silsbee Endowed Chair of African Cultural Archaeology

The IFR happily announces that our Board Chair -- Prof. Willeke Wendrich -- has been appointed as the Joan Silsbee Endowed Chair of African Cultural Archaeology at UCLA. Willeke Wendrich is also a 

Willeke Wendrich 4

Professor of Egyptian Archaeology in the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department, Director of Digital Humanities, Editor-in-chief of the online UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology and Editorial Director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.

Professor Wendrich recently edited the Egyptian Archaeology volume, and she is the director of one of our popular field schools in the Fayum region of Egypt. She has worked in the Fayum since 2002.

We are very proud to have you as part of our team. Congratulations Professor Wendrich for your great accomplishments.




Charles Stanish joins IFR Board of Directors

Charles Stanish
We are proud to announce that Charles Stanish is joining our Board of Directors.  Prof. Stanish is the Lloyd Cotsen Chair in Archaeology and Director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA (CIoA).  He is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute.  Prof. Stanish is an expert in Andean archaeology and the evolution of social complexity and political economy. 

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