UNB Bioarchaeology Field School

Bioarchaeology Field School

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Continuing in July 2018, the UNB Department of Anthropology will be hosting the bioarchaeology field school program in partnership with Parks Canada, at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada. Established in 1713, Louisbourg was initially an important French fishing port in the North Atlantic and then evolved into a military stronghold, transhipment centre, and the capital of Ile Royale in the 1720s. By the middle of the 18th century, Louisbourg consisted of a 60 acre fortress with additional coastal defences and a harbour lined with fishing concessions for the lucrative cod trade.  Louisbourg was successfully besieged twice, first by a New Englander force in 1745 and then by a massive British force in 1758. The second siege marked the end for Louisbourg, as the British decided to destroy the fortifications in 1760. Rochefort Point, a narrow peninsula extending just beyond the east gate of the Fortress, was the primary burial ground for the inhabitants of Louisbourg after c.1739; however, sea level rise and coastal erosion have greatly narrowed this strip of land and the burial ground is at risk. Efforts to manage coastal erosion impacts at Louisbourg has prompted this long-term rescue excavation and analysis of these burials. This unique program will offer students a multi-component, hands-on bioarchaeological field experience including excavation methods and techniques, field data recording and ethical handling practices. Additionally, students will be engaged in the technical analyses of these skeletal remains through laboratory cataloguing, analysis, curation and storage. Additionally, students will have opportunities to explore the Fortress, learn more about the history of 18th century Atlantic Canada, and share their experiences and research with the local community.

This program will allow students to:

  • Acquire a unique bioarchaeological skill set to complement undergraduate and graduate courses
  • Obtain critical hands-on training in field techniques specially focused on skeletal recovery in a mortuary context
  • Analyze and interpret skeletal remains within the historical framework of Louisbourg and disseminate that knowledge to the general public
  • Learn about the history of Louisbourg through lecture series and behind-the-scenes tours of the Fortress
  • Establish important ethical handling practices when working within archaeological remains
Dates, Fees, and Location

Bioarchaeology Field SchoolDates:
July 21, 2018 – August 18, 2018

Fortress of Louisbourg, Louisbourg, NS, Canada

Dr. Amy Scott, Assistant Professor, UNB Department of Anthropology
Graduate TAs

It is the responsibility of all students to be in Sydney, NS on Saturday July 21st for pickup at the airport. The closest airport is  the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport. All students will be brought from Sydney to our field school home on the 21st. For departure, students will be transported back to Sydney on August 18th. If your travel arrangements fall outside of these dates, it is your responsibility to be at the pick-up location or to arrange transportation back to the airport at your own cost.

We will be staying locally in Louisbourg, NS. Students will have access to a full kitchen and we will be doing regularly scheduled grocery runs for students to purchase what they need for each week. We will be having breakfast and dinner at our summer home and lunch on site at the Fortress. Students will have access to internet and there is a laundromat in town students can use.

Program fees for this field school include tuition for 6 credit hours (ANTH 3552 and 3553), transportation during the 4 weeks and accommodations. Students are responsible for their travel fees to and from Nova Scotia, food during their stay in Louisbourg, spending money and any other additional costs (e.g. travel insurance, visa requirements).

The program fee is $4000 CDN (fee includes tuition, accommodation and on-site travel costs). A non-refundable fee of $150 is payable upon confirmation you have been accepted into the program and will be deducted from the program fee.

Course registration is now open and will remain open until all spots are filled.

BioarchaeologyVisa Requirements:
Students may require a valid passport to enter Canada. Some countries require further documentation for entry. Please visit the Government of Canada website to determine if you require any further documentation to enter the country.

Field Trips and Fun Activities:
We will be offering some field trip opportunities over the four weeks of the program. These field trips are not mandatory but students are responsible for any additional costs.

  • Crabfest in Louisbourg
  • Whale watching in Cape Breton Highlands
  • Cannon and musket firing at the Fortress
  • Night tours and ghost stories at the Fortress
  • Sydney day trips
  • Coastal hikes
  • Beggars Banquet in Louisbourg

Application process:
Interested students will be required to complete an application form and include the name and contact information of one referee and an unofficial transcript. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2018. Once all applications are received successful applicants will be contacted to pay their deposit fee for the program by the end of April 2018. Students not admitted to the program will be placed on a waiting list in case of cancellations.

Apply now!

Course Descriptions

Bioarchaeology Field SchoolANTH 3552 Bioarchaeological Field School I (O) 3ch (3S) (LE) (W)
This field program, with ANTH 3553, offers an introduction to mortuary archaeology and bioarchaeological field methods through skeletal excavation. This section of the course will emphasize the ethics of working with human remains, the identification and recovery of remains from archaeological contexts, skeletal excavation methods and techniques and field data recording.

ANTH 3553 Bioarchaeological Field School 2 (O) 3ch (3S) (LE) (W)
This field program, with ANTH 3552, offers an introduction to mortuary archaeology and bioarchaeological field methods through skeletal excavation. This section of the course will emphasize the technical analyses of skeletal remains through laboratory cataloguing, analysis, curation and storage.

ANTH 3552 and ANTH 3553 are to be taken concurrently.

Prerequisite: ANTH 3525 Bones: The Human Skeleton (or equivalent course)

Download the syllabus

In the media
Contact Us

For registration enquires please contact:
Erica Valentate
506 451-6824

For course information and further details about the program please contact:
Amy Scott, Project Director and Field Program Instructor
bioarchfieldschool@unb.caUNB Anthropology

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Parks Canada        Louisbourg