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Internship in Applied Archeology

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The Arkansas Archeological Survey, in cooperation with the Department of Anthropology, University of Arkansas, offers an Internship program in Applied Archeology. The program emphasizes practical skills that will prepare graduate students for careers in a non-academic environment, including employment in consulting and other private sector firms, as well as federal, state, and local agencies. During the Internship, students will gain hands-on experience in public education and cultural resource management; project administration; archeological collections and site data management; and computer applications in archeology.

General Description

Intern Madge Smith works with archeologist Jerry HilliardSince the late 1960s, there has been a significant shift in employment opportunities for archeologists from academic-based positions to government and private sector consulting firms, with an emphasis on cultural resource management. This trend is reflected in the membership profiles of the Society for American Archaeology, which indicate that academic archeologists now comprise a minority of the membership. Recognizing these changes, the Department of Anthropology, University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Archeological Survey have developed a cooperative Internship program that complements traditional graduate school instruction and better prepares students for careers outside a university setting.

The goal of the Internship is to produce graduates who have experience in several critical aspects of public archeology, including cultural resource management, collections management, computer applications, and public education. Successful candidates are expected to demonstrate capability in working with government agencies and the general public; principles and practices of archeological collections management; proposal development; report preparation; and field and laboratory methods. The Internship is not designed to provide participants with basic technical and theoretical skills; these skills are developed prior to entry into the program. Through the Internship, however, participants will learn how previously learned skills can be applied to a variety of problem resolutions, as well as acquiring practical skills to develop and manage research projects.

As a part of the University of Arkansas system, the Arkansas Archeological Survey is ideally suited to train graduate students in public archeology, cultural resource management, and contract archeology.

Structure of the Internship

The Internship is one of several tracks available to graduate students in archeology. Selection of an appropriate track is the responsibility of the student and her/his committee. Approval of the committee and the Internship director is required prior to enrollment in the program. ANTH 5013 (Research Methods in Anthropology) and ANTH 5023 (Public Archeology) are prerequisites for the Internship. The Internship is a two semester program that fulfills 6 credit hours (3 per semester) of the 36 required credits for the Internship option for the Master of Arts degree in anthropology. Grades are awarded on a credit/no credit basis.

The first semester of the Internship is spent at the Coordinating Office of the Arkansas Archeological Survey. During this time, interns are expected to spend at least 10 hours per week receiving instruction, interacting with Survey personnel, and learning about Survey operations. Instruction during the first semester focuses on four areas: public archeology and cultural resource management; project administration; collections management; and computer applications (e.g., GIS, CAD, etc.).

Using programs of the Arkansas Archeological Survey as a model, the public education section focuses on professional interaction with non-archeologists, including government officials, educators, avocational archeologists, and the general public. This is accomplished by working with the Survey director, state archeologist, publications editor, and members of the Arkansas Archeological Society.

In the project administration section, interns are instructed in the pragmatics of contract archeology, including proposal development, project administration, field and lab techniques, and report preparation. Whenever possible, interns will participate in projects being conducted by the Survey’s Sponsored Research Program.

The Arkansas Archaeological Survey has earned national recognition for computer applications in archeology. Interns learn the fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems, CAD, database management, and other useful skills. Emphasis is placed on applications to ongoing archeological research.

The collections management section focuses on two often neglected aspects of archeology. The Arkansas Archaeological Survey serves as the designated repository for all archeological records in the state and curates many archeological collections. Working with the Registrar, interns learn proper curation procedures as they review collections. Use of the State archeological site files (AMASDA) and other relational databases is emphasized.

During the first semester, interns meet regularly with the Internship director and their graduate committee to discuss performance and to formulate a project for the second semester of the Internship. Various section heads report on the progress of interns to the Internship director. Formal evaluations of each intern are prepared at the conclusion of the first semester.

By the conclusion of the first semester, interns must submit a formal project proposal for the second semester to their graduate committee and the Internship director. Individual projects, such as site reports and collection management plans, are developed by the intern under the supervision of the Internship director, appropriate section heads, and members of the student’s graduate committee.

Enrollment in the second semester of the Internship is conditional upon successful completion of the first semester, including approval of the project prospectus. The second semester of the Internship entails application of the skills learned during the first semester. Interns execute the project described in their proposal and write a report (or equivalent) describing the project and its results.

Completing the Internship

Upon completion of the Internship project, participants are examined by a committee of Department of Anthropology faculty and Survey representatives. Interns orally defend their project and answer questions about material covered during the first semester of the Internship. Successful demonstration of competence and completion of other departmental requirements satisfy the requirements for the Master of Arts degree.

For more information, contact:

Department of Anthropology
University of Arkansas
Old Main 330
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Phone: 501/575-2508

Dr. George Sabo III
Arkansas Archeological Survey
2475 N. Hatch
Fayetteville, AR 72703


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