Intensive Summer Course Series

Application deadline has passed.

The Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials offers a series of intensive courses in the field of archaeological science. They are aimed at advanced undergraduates, graduate students, scholars, and professionals with a background in archaeology or in a relevant field. All courses are taught by CAAM Teaching Specialists and Museum staff and are offered on rotation every 1-2 years with the final dates confirmed in the Spring of each year.

Four students working in the field, performing archaeological flotation to find small bits of material.

2022 Courses

Field Archaeobotany
May 11-13, 2022
with Dr. Chantel White

This three-day course will focus on the principles and practicalities of field archaeobotany with a focus on carbonized macrobotanical remains. First, participants will learn how to design a flotation sampling strategy and will then receive hands-on experience building a water-recycling flotation system (bilge-pump design). Participants will float samples using proper recording and processing techniques and will learn how to test their recovery rates. We will then discuss how to set up a field lab and carry out lab activities such as heavy fraction sorting. As part of this short course, we’ll review permitting issues for importing archaeological samples to the US and procedures for creating a botanical reference collection. Students will receive detailed plans and equipment lists to assist in building their own flotation systems.

Petrography of Cultural Materials
May 23-27, 2022
with Dr. Marie-Claude Boileau

This five-day course will introduce participants to thin-section petrography of ceramic archaeological objects and architectural materials (stone, mortars and plasters). Using polarized light microscopy, the course will cover the basics of optical mineralogy and the petrography of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. We will move on to the petrographic characterization of ceramic materials and the interpretation of provenance and manufacturing technology. Participants who wish to work on their own material are encouraged to bring their thin sections.

August 15-19, 2022
with Dr. Jason Herrmann

The CAAM Intensive Course in Archaeogeophysics is a five-day workshop where participants will receive hands-on experience in collecting, processing and interpreting near-surface geophysical data on archaeological sites. The course will take place at Bartram’s Garden in West Philadelphia where instruction will be divided between survey in the field and lectures and exercises in the classroom. We will collect and process data from a magnetic gradiometer, an earth resistance meter, and with ground-penetrating radar. Lectures will cover the theory of geophysical sensors commonly used in archaeological investigations, physical properties of common archaeological and paleoenvironmental targets, and field methods for data collection. A significant proportion of the course will be computer-based as participants will process and interpret the data that we collect. Participants will be responsible for providing their own laptop. Some familiarity with GIS is recommended.


Location: Courses will be held in the Penn Museum’s Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA.

Course fees: $900 for 5-day course, $600 for 3-day course. Fees include all course materials and access to laboratory facilities. Travel to and from Philadelphia, accommodation, meals and course credits are not covered by the course fees.

A minimum of 4 participants is required for courses to be offered.

Application Deadlines

Past Intensive Courses

YearCourse NameInstructor
2020Field ArchaeobotanyDr. Chantel White
2020Methods for Zooarchaeology in Andean South AmericaDr. Katherine Moore
2020Petrography of Cultural MaterialsDr. Marie-Claude Boileau
2020ArchaeogeophysicsDr. Jason Herrmann
2019Problems and Methods in ZooarchaeologyDr. Katherine M Moore
2019Triage Care of Artifacts On SiteTeam taught by Penn Museum Conservators
2019Mining and Metallurgy in ArchaeologyDr. Moritz Jansen
2018Petrography of Cultural MaterialsDr. Marie-Claude Boileau
2018Andean Textile StudiesDr. Anne Tiballi
2017Field ArchaeobotanyDr. Chantel White


Center for Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM)