Most archaeology students first experience field work during a field school aimed at upper-division undergraduate majors. An excavation component in an Introduction to Archaeology class, however, can create an unequaled educational experience for students at all levels of experience and interest in archaeology. Excavations help students to master basic field methods, understand the nature of archaeological inference, recognize the strengths and limitations of archaeological data, grapple with archaeological ethics, and foster a sense of archaeological stewardship. This paper explores the outcomes of providing a field experience in the introductory class at the University of Minnesota Morris, the liberal arts campus of the University of Minnesota system. The community-instigated excavation led to increased student learning that was particularly focused on higher-level cognitive activities, such as reflection and application. Although the logistics of field work can be prohibitively difficult, faculty may underestimate both the advantages and ease of providing this hands-on experience to their students.



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