University of Mississippi

2013 Ole Miss Archaeological Field School

The University of Mississippi will be conducting an intensive archaeological field school at the Carson Mounds site, one of the largest prehistoric ceremonial centers in the Mississippi alluvial valley.  In his 1894 landmark publication on the mounds of the eastern United State, Cyrus Thomas included a map of the site showing more than 80 mounds.  Most of the smaller mounds have been obliterated by the more than 100 years of cultivation that followed.  This course offers students the opportunity to learn archaeological field methods at one of the major Mississippian sites in the Southeast.  Much of the work this season will focus on mapping complex ritual structures and mound architecture.  Students will also learn more advanced archaeological techniques including GIS and remote sensing using magnetometry and ground penetrating radar.

Thomas 1894



We will be using the following remote sensing instruments

Bartington Grad 601-2 Duar Sensor Gradiometer – Measures the magnetic characteristics of archaeological deposits.

KT 9 Kappameter – Good for small scale exploration of the magnetic susceptibility component of the magnetic field

Bartington MS2 Magnetic Susceptibility Meter with MS2H downhole probe

EM 38B Conductivity Meter – A conductivity meter that also measures an approximation of magnetic susceptibility. This is the standard conductivity instrument used by archaeologists in geophysical research because it measure features within the upper meter or so of the deposit.

SIR 3000 – A ground penetrating radar system which allows soil properties and buried structures to be detected using the radar portion of the electromagnetic spectrum

Leica Total Station – Replaces our venerable optical transit in recording surface elevation as well as mapping features in the excavation units.

Students will also have ample opportunity to become familiar with the more traditional tools; shovels, trowels, screens, and field forms.



Total enrollment will be limited to 12 students, filled on a first come basis.


We will be borrowing an upscale hunting camp for our field house. It has a washer, dryer, full kitchen, two great rooms, four large sleeping rooms with bunks, covered porch, satellite high definition TV, and, especially, air conditioning. It is located in a rural area not far from Coahoma and about 20 minutes from Clarksdale and the Carson Mounds. Bedding is supplied but you should bring a pillow. In the finest Mississippi tradition, we park in the yard so you are welcome to bring your car.


The field school will begin on June 27 and conclude on July 26


Undergraduates will sign up for Anthropology 335 for six hours of credit. Tuition will be $1,895. Graduate students will take Anthropology 635, also a six hour course. Graduate tuition will be $2,495.

Application Contact Jay K. Johnson ( 662-801-7339) for information about how to apply. If you have any additional questions, please call or email Professor Johnson.