Data Archaeology

The Stanford Archaeology Center plans to offer the lab experience in Summer 2024, either in person or remotely. Based on potential restrictions, the Archaeology Center will be determining whether our lab experiences will be conducted remotely or in person by the early Spring quarter of 2024. 

The dates of this lab experience offering will be June 24 - September 2, 2024.

Undergraduate Lab Experience

This student research opportunity involves analysis of excavation data from archaeological sites in the Yellow River Valley of northern China dating to the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1600 to 1050 BCE). We will primarily use ArcGIS Pro to visualize changes in patterns of archaeological features and material culture over time and make these informative for viewers (such as data animations). We will also employ statistics and graphing techniques to query the data about life in the Bronze Age.

The data are rich and varied and student researchers will be encouraged to develop their own questions to explore as they work with the data. Some examples include responses to changing environmental pressures; gender and warfare (Anyang is the site of the notable woman warrior and army general “Fu Hao”); demographic changes through time; and human-animal relationships (dogs often accompanied their humans in burial). By the end of the summer, the student will have gained experience in various approaches to archaeological data analysis, the development of research questions, and how data is used to visualize and narrate a compelling story. By the end of the summer, student researchers will prepare a poster for presentation based on their analyses.

What Will You Do

  • Analysis of Archaeological Data
  • Data Visualization
  • Archaeological Interpretation
  • Communication of Results to the Broader Community

Requirements for Participation

  • Students accepted to our lab experiences are required to participate in any pre-meetings with the faculty leader of their program in the quarter prior. Each lab experience has different requirements that will be communicated by the faculty leader. 
  • After the conclusion of their lab experience, the Archaeology Center requires that all lab experience students participate in SURPS (Symposia for Undergraduate Research and Public Service). Students from each lab experience are expected to work together to complete an application, prepare a poster, and present at the SURPS event on the Friday of the reunion homecoming weekend.
  • Each of our field and lab experiences is part of an ongoing research project led by a Stanford faculty member. While in the lab, undergraduates are expected to contribute to the team effort of the archaeological project at the faculty member's direction. Fieldwork can take the form of several different activities. Each day's activities can look different and may change depending on the evolving direction of the research. Students participating in a field or lab experience should be prepared to be flexible and responsive to the instructions of the faculty member or other senior project staff.

Application Information

  • This field experience opportunity is open to all undergraduates except graduating seniors.
  • Undergraduates from all majors are encouraged to apply.
  • No prior knowledge of archaeology is required, although we prefer to support students who will pursue an archaeology-centered career. All necessary training will be provided while in the field.
  • Acceptance of the lab experience comes with funding for eligible expenses subject to the budget of the project. The Archaeology Center will issue a one-time stipend at the beginning of the project. Students will be informed of the stipend limit. 
  • Stipend amounts will be determined by VPUE and communicated to students when they are accepted to the lab experience.
  • Students who plan to participate in an archaeology lab experience cannot receive a major grant or a Chappell-Lougee scholarship within the same academic year as their lab experience.

Learn more about general field or lab experience opportunities with the Stanford Archaeology Center.

Applications for 2024 are open and will close on March 1, 2024. Read more about the opportunity and apply here!