Project Description

In light of a changing COVID-19 landscape, including the rapid spread of more contagious Delta and Omicron variants, and in accordance with the recommendation of national medical experts, IFR policy requires that prior to traveling, all field school students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 AND receive a booster shot, if eligible. If you intend to participate in an IFR program this summer, we strongly encourage you to schedule your vaccination appointment as soon as possible.

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. Each field school syllabus includes specific information about COVID-19 as related to travel regulations and recommendations, accommodations, local protocols, face mask policy and managing COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.

You may want to refer to the following websites to stay informed of COVID-19 case numbers and regulations/policies for Missouri:


The field, lab, and curation components of this program provide a rare opportunity to gain a holistic perspective on archaeological collections in a single field school, covering everything from the front-end process of curation to its final steps. Students will learn skills that can be applied to a career in curation, museums, collections, archives, and of course, field archaeology, all while doing detective work to solve the many unpredictable issues that arise when rehabilitating old collections.

The archaeological fieldwork component of the program will take place at a late Mississippian period (AD 1200-1450) village in southeast Missouri, where students will gain an introduction to excavation methods that will serve as a primer for more comprehensive field excavation experiences and will provide the necessary background for understanding how collections are generated. Students will also gain hands-on training and experience in curation at the Archaeology Laboratory of Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO), which holds a legacy collection of archaeological material from our study site, as well as materials from modern excavations. Students will learn how to identify the various types of artifacts found in pre-contact North America, the cultural history of the Midwestern US, the challenges of modern curation and how those relate to field work, basic methods employed in managing collections, relational database use and design, and the legislation governing archaeological collections in the US, including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Several field trips, guest lectures from experts in the field, and group discussions enhance this experience. Field trips slated for 2022 include visits to the Mississippian period UNESCO World Heritage site of Cahokia, French Colonial sites along the Mississippi River, and the repositories of several regional museums and research centers.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: May 23­ – July 1, 2022

  • Enrollment Status: Closed

  • Total Cost: $4920

  • Course Type: Curation, Collections Management, CRM, Prehistoric, Field Archaeology

  • Payment Deadline: April 15, 2022

  • Instructors: Dr. Tamira K. Brennan and Dr. Jennifer Bengtson

  • Orientation: April 16, 2022 at 9 am PT / 11 am CT / 12 pm ET
  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)


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.

Dr. Tamira Brennan
Dr. Tamira Brennan
Dr. Tamira Brennan is the Section Head of Curation at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey and a Research Affiliate with the Center for Archaeological Investigations at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Dr. Jennifer Bengtson
Dr. Jennifer Bengtson
Dr. Jennifer Bengtson is an associate professor in the Department of History and Anthropology at Southeast Missouri State University.


This is a new IFR field school. No student testimonials are available at this time.

Tuition Includes:

  • Cost of Instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units
  • All Local Transportation
  • Room & Board

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.
Travel Insured International offers coverage for Trip Cancellation or Interruption for Any Reason (review coverage based on your state).
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.


Students will be housed in Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) dormitories or shared apartments on or near campus in double rooms with another IFR field school student. Non-IFR students will also be present in the dorm building and may share common areas, such as bathrooms and kitchen facilities, with IFR students. Students are responsible for cleaning their shared bathrooms and providing their own bedding and linens. A public laundromat is nearby; students are responsible for the costs of washing and drying their clothes.

Kitchen facilities are available on site and are shared with the rest of the dormitory, as are other common areas. All surfaces should be cleaned with disinfectant prior to and after preparing food. A 15-meal a week dining plan will be provided by the project, to be used for breakfast and dinner on workdays, and for weekend meals. We will not return to the dorms for lunch on workdays, so students should plan on packing their lunches for the field at their own expense. Weekly transportation to the grocery store will be provided to pick up lunch foods. Many local restaurants offer carry-out meal options within walking distance of the housing.

COVID-19 protocol surrounding living and eating will be issued prior to field school as pertinent to the situation at the time of field school. These protocols may include pods, masking, social distancing, and restrictions on indoor activities with people outside of the field school pod.

Parking for personal vehicles will be at the expense of the students if fees are to be charged.

Travel Info

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.

Students have several options for meeting in Cape Girardeau. If traveling via air, they may choose to fly into St. Louis (a 2-hour drive from Cape Girardeau) and await pickup by staff.

Alternately, students may be dropped off or drive a personal vehicle to Cape Girardeau, meeting at the second location and time listed below. Note: Students who bring a personal vehicle to field school are responsible for fees associated with parking (if any) and are expected to ride in field school vehicles to and from the dig site and for all excursions that take place during class time.

Rendezvous points and times:

1) St. Louis Lambert International Airport

Meeting date: Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Meeting point: Arrivals

Meeting time: 2 PM

2) SEMO campus, address TBD

Meeting date: Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Meeting point: TBD

Meeting time: 4 PM

If you miss your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text, or email Dr. Brennan immediately. A local emergency cell phone number will be provided to all enrolled students. If you will arrive more than 1 hour past the airport pickup time due to a delay, plan on booking a shuttle to get to Cape Girardeau. There are no direct flights, trains, or buses between STL and CGI.

STL shuttle: 314-450-6453 (~$130 and a 3-hour drive)



This is a domestic program and there are no visa requirements for US citizens. Citizens of other countries are asked to check the embassy website page at their home country for specific visa requirements.

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.