Project Description

All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices before beginning the enrollment process. Program logistics are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices. A Syllabus Addendum will be uploaded to each field school page and sent to all enrolled students with the latest operational and/or logistical changes to their program.


The Boncuklu field school investigates a pivotal transition in human history: the shift from a hunter-gatherer society to a farming civilization. The site dates to c. 8500 BCE, the earliest Neolithic village in central Anatolia and the predecessor of the famous Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük. Located in the Konya Plain in central Turkey, Boncuklu lies 40 kms east of the major city of Konya, a famous Medieval centre where the ‘whirling dervish’ sect was founded by the Medieval philosopher, Celaleddin Rumi. Students in the Boncuklu field school will work alongside expert archaeologists, learning and applying field research methods to expose the remains that tell the tales of the reality of life in the earliest farming settlements. The full gamut of archaeological field methods will be taught in this program: survey, excavation, laboratory analysis, artifact cataloging, and conservation. Students will also engage in the intellectual challenges presented by archaeological research, participating in research design, interpreting data, and the continual readjustment of hypotheses and field strategies with regard to information recovered in the field. The deep immersion in the site is complimented by an incredible range of regional field trips to other sites and museums including Çatalhöyük, the Hittite capital Hatussas, the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara and the dramatic Neolithic site of Aşıklı. Program participants can expect to walk away from this field school secure in their understanding of applied archaeological field research methods and deep understanding of the cultural landscape of Central Anatolia, past and present.  For the project website, go here.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: July 15-August 14, 2021

  • Enrollment Status: Open

  • Total Cost: $4,415

  • Course Type: Field Archaeology

  • Payment Deadline: April 30, 2021

  • Instructors: Prof. Douglas Baird, Dr. Andrew Fairbairn

  • Online Orientation: June 6 at 9am PDT / 12 pm EDT / 4 pm UTC / 5 pm BST

  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)

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The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Prof. Douglas Baird
Prof. Douglas Baird
Prof. Baird is a Professor at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool (UK).
Dr. Andrew Fairbairn
Dr. Andrew Fairbairn
Dr. Fairbairn is Head of Discipline – Archaeology and Senior Lecturer & Associate Professor at the School of Social Science, University of Queensland (Australia).


I undertook The Boncuklu Field Work opportunity as an undergraduate student. In my opinion it is a must for any student wanting to become the best Archaeologist they can be. I experienced a different culture, met aspiring and established archaeologists and I was given the chance to work on a site of great archaeological value. The opportunity to go on intensive field work is very limited for undergraduates so this opportunity should not be passed up. Even if this is not your chosen area of study, it is important to get an understanding of the different types of sites you may encounter in your future undertakings. All in all, the experience was amazing, unforgettable and unique. It reaffirmed my belief that Archaeology is not really a job, but a lifestyle.

Brendan Richardson, University of Queensland

The Boncuklu experience was a fantastic opportunity to further my archaeological experience, as well as to fully immerse myself in a culture quite apart from what one is used to in Britain. Prior to the excavation I took the opportunity to explore Turkey, travelling as far as Lake Van in Eastern Turkey, and visiting sites we had been introduced to in lectures, notably Göbekli Tepe. The dig itself provided a fantastic opportunity to work, with an awesome team of students and top academics, for up to two months. I could truly immerse myself in the work I was undertaking, and try my hand at all aspects of the work (excavation, find processing, flotation, and survey), while exploring areas of the country such as Cappadocia, Antalya, and Eğridir in my time off. The opportunity also gave me a further experience in finds processing from a more specialised view point with personal instruction at a one to one level from Dr. Douglas Baird. This was a truly memorable experience, one I hope to repeat in the future, which I shall treasure forever, having met amazing people from across the world and explored a beautiful and welcoming country. Thanks!

Seth Price, University of Liverpool

Tuition Includes:

  • Cost of Instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units
  • Room & Board
  • All local transportation
  • Health & Evacuation Insurance

Student Fees

This program requires an online application — there is a $25 fee to submit an application. Once admitted, a payment of the nonrefundable deposit fee is required to secure a place in the program(s). The Tuition balance (total program cost minus the deposit fee) must be paid prior to the Tuition deadline as listed above under “Course Details.” A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the Tuition deadline.

Deposit: A nonrefundable $500 deposit fee is required to secure a seat in the program. This deposit is part of the total Tuition and NOT in addition to it.

Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy: If you paid the deposit fee but did not cancel your participation by the Tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full Tuition regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information. In the event that IFR must cancel a field school, all accepted students will be notified as soon as possible and will receive a refund of all tuition paid including the deposit fee. IFR offers students the opportunity to transfer to another field school, permitting that there are spots available and the program director approves the student to participate in their field school. Upon approval of the program director, IFR staff will make the arrangements to transfer the student’s application and payments.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 3.5% processing fee is automatically incurred for all credit/debit card/online payments.

Academic Credit Opt Out: Students who wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credit units may do so and receive the following discounts: $300 off a full program (4 or more weeks in length) or $200 off a short program (2-3 weeks in length).

Trip Cancellation Insurance: Please consider purchasing a travel interruption insurance policy that will cover your travel cost and the cost of the IFR program once you make a commitment to attend a field school.

The added risk of COVID-19  should be a “covered event” in your policy.
Please note that the cost of coverage varies, based on your age, the program duration and geographical location.
You may get help and advice from your insurance broker and we offer the links below to help you educate yourself on these insurance products.
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.


IFR students will occupy well ventilated shared rooms in the dig house complex and large well ventilated tents, in social pods of 2-3 students. These pods will work together and eat together. Single occupancy isolated sleep spaces can be made available if COVID-19 related circumstances require this.

There are toilets and showers within the dig house complex adjacent to the sleeping rooms and tents. The project has machines for laundry and the laundry service is organized centrally. Maximum occupancy limits will be set on these facilities and suitable spacing guidelines established for users respecting 2m distances.

Rooms and wash/toilet as well as other dig house facilities, including kitchen (which is in its own separate building), will be cleaned regularly by a cleaner hired by the project utilising disinfectants and other COVID-19 related protocols (as advised by University of Liverpool which is engaged in much cutting edge COVID-19 related research).

People will be well spaced in the well-ventilated labs in pods when using lab space. We have a large outdoor roofed work space, but with open sides, in which the swell separated pods can work on material processing. Similarly covered but open sided work areas for flotation and sieving well removed from other work areas can be operated by pods.

Materials that might be contaminated by COVID-19 will be kept isolated until they can be safely disposed of. Up to date advice will be sought on this aspect before the field season.

All participants in a field school, students and staff, will wear masks while indoors (i.e. during lectures, during labs, in shared residential spaces, etc.).

Regular hand washing will be a part of the project’s daily schedule.

Excavation areas are extensive, have tented covers but open sides and are thus well ventilated and separated from each other by 10s of metres. The team pods will thus be well separated during excavation. Some tools will be allocated to individual team members for the project duration but shared equipment (e.g. survey equipment) will be cleaned after each use (a method already successfully used on a Liverpool field school in October 2020).


Catering is carried out by two local cooks preparing Turkish village style food. This is of course halal. We cater for vegetarians, lactose intolerant and gluten free diets.

There is a large open air, but roofed, dining area which can seat several pods respecting Covid19 related distance requirements. Prepared food will be served in shifts to allow COVID-19 distancing requirements. The cooks will be regularly tested, masked and gloved and use disinfected space and utensils and reman socially distant from the team.

Note: our website gives a flavor of life for the team at the site, you are encouraged to visit the site.

Turkey Boncuklu

Travel Info

PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT BOOK FLIGHTS UNTIL INSTRUCTED BY THE FIELD SCHOOL DIRECTORS. MINOR CHANGES TO THE MEETING POINT AND STARTING DATE (BY A DAY OR TWO) MAY BECOME NECESSARY IN THE LIGHT OF ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE TURKISH AUTHORITIES WHO ISSUE THE OFFICIAL PERMIT FOR THE EXCAVATION. UPDATE: Due to ongoing uncertainties regarding the travel regulations related to COVID-19, IFR will assess the local conditions closer to the travel date (5-6 weeks prior to the program beginning) and will make Go/No Go decisions then. We urge you to participate in the mandatory orientation meeting when we will discuss the latest travel information and regulations. We also suggest you consider postponing the purchase of your airline ticket until after the program orientation.

We suggest you hold purchasing your airline ticket until six (6) weeks prior to departure date. Natural disasters, political changes, weather conditions and a range of other factors may require the cancelation of a field school. The IFR typically takes a close look at local conditions 6-7 weeks prior to program beginning and make Go/No Go decisions by then. Such time frame still allows the purchase deeply discounted airline tickets while protecting students from potential loss if airline ticket costs if we decide to cancel a program.

Students are responsible for making your own travel arrangements, once the timing of permit issue by the Turkish authorities is confirmed.

The closest city to the site is Konya. There is an international airport at Konya although most flights route through Istanbul. Flying to Konya is easiest, and Professor Baird will meet IFR students at that airport. Alternatively, one can fly to Istanbul and travel by high-speed train (4 hours) from Istanbul to Konya, although these trains book up quickly. Professor Baird will also meet people at the train station in Konya if required. You will be driven from collection point to the site in the dig vehicle.

If you flight is delayed, you missed your connection, or you are held at the border, please call, text or email the project director immediately. A local cell phone number will be provided to enrolled students.


Participants in excavations in Turkey require a research visa. As the excavation permit holder from the Turkish government, Professor Baird arranges the research visas involving a project permit application through the Turkish embassy in London. He will be in touch about the relevant forms that participants are required to complete and send to him for these purposes. Research visas are issued through Turkish consulates in your home countries, for example, there are 6 consulates in the USA which issue these visas on receiving the approval from Ankara. Issuing of research visas normally occurs in June. Consult with Professor Baird about which consulate would work for you.

Student Safety

The IFR primary concern is with education. Traveling and conducting field research involve risk. Students interested in participating in IFR programs must weigh whether the potential risk is worth the value of education provided. While risk is inherent in everything we do, we do not take risk lightly. The IFR engages in intensive review of each field school location prior to approval. Once a program is accepted, the IFR reviews each program annually to make sure it complies with all our standards and policies, including student safety.

Students attending IFR international programs are covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance policy that includes physical illness or injury, mental or chronic conditions. No deductible and 100% of costs are covered up to $250,000. In addition, we provide Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation policy, which allow us to remove students from field school location if local conditions change. Our field school directors are scholars that know field school locations and cultures well and are plugged in into local communities and state institution structures.

Students attending IFR domestic programs (within the US) must have their own health insurance and provide proof upon enrollment. IFR field school directors are familiar with local authorities and if in need of evacuation, local emergency services and/or law enforcement will be notified and activated.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field. If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students may contact IFR personnel directly.

Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.