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Archaeological Field School in Vietnam

September 30, 2019

Northern Vietnam: Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, and Ngoum Vietnam archaeology site 02

Approximate Program Dates:
Summer 2020 A Term
(June 22 – July 27, 2020)

Learn and practice archaeological skills even if you have no prior experience.  Through hands-on participation in archaeological field work, students will gain insight into migration, adaptation to changing climates, and the social organization of humans living thousands of years ago.

The research aims of the field school are to contribute to the understanding of the earliest human dispersals into Asia by testing hypotheses about human occupants of the Than Sa Valley in northern Vietnam. Pilot research in this valley has found some of the earliest artifacts in Southeast Asia, and we expect to find more in summer 2020.  Students will learn practical and theoretical details of site recording, collection, and excavation. Field school participants will also have the opportunity to learn post-fieldwork skills such as artifact analysis, reporting, and curation of data.


Vietnam archaeology 04

The field school is offered in collaboration with Whatcom Community College (WCC) in Bellingham, WA. Part of a long term archaeological project directed by UW professor Ben Marwick, WCC professor Jennifer Zovar will co-direct the study abroad program. Students from UW and WCC will work side-by-side with Drs. Marwick and Zovar, as well as with archaeologists from the Vietnamese Institute of Archaeology.

Students will live with local Vietnamese families, enjoy local cuisine, and learn about customs and some of the language. Cultural excursions will broaden knowledge of the region’s traditional cultures.

We welcome undergraduate students from any major and any standing. Students who are open to new and unfamiliar experiences will find this program especially fulfilling. Our activities will require some physical exertion in warm and humid conditions, so candidates for the program should be comfortable being outdoors for extended periods, won’t mind getting dirty, and able to endure some physical challenges with a positive attitude.

There are no academic prerequisites. Some prior formal study of archaeology and anthropology will be a great advantage, but are not required.


About the Program Directors:

Ben Marwick has visited Vietnam for professional activities frequently over the last decade, developing close relationships with research staff at the Vietnamese Institute of Archaeology in Hanoi (the government agency responsible for archaeological research) and faculty in the Archaeology Department of the Vietnam National University of Social Science in Hanoi. Together with these colleagues, Marwick has conducted two extensive field projects in northern Vietnam. The first was a UW study abroad field school in 2015, and the second was a research excavation in 2017 at Nguom, the location of the 2020 field school.

Jennifer Zovar is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Whatcom Community College.  As an archaeologist, her field research has been focused in South America (Bolivia), with theoretical interests in the reconstruction of post-collapse communities and a methodological focus on field excavation and ceramic analysis.  In addition to her work in Bolivia, Zovar has participated in archaeological projects in Guatemala and across the United States. She also spent a year teaching English in Indonesia, and is excited to return to Southeast Asia for this field school.

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