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Beyond Excavation: Digging into the Science

Raised toward our $9,650 Goal
43 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on November 02, at 08:00 AM CDT
Project Owners

Washburn archaeology students had a busy summer!

September 01, 2017

Washburn archaeology students went on field schools this summer and collected prehistoric artifacts from the Kansas plains and the Ozarks. They will spend this year analyzing the findings and presenting their research. (Read about their trip below)

Gifts to this project already helped purchase some equipment. At 26 percent funded, the students are hoping generous donors like yourself will join the crowdfunding. Time is running out to give students the equipment they need this semester. If you haven't already, please share this project and spread the word that Ichabods are doing awesome things! Let them know the work these students do is a valuable educational experience.

Read about their trip to Meade County, Kansas, and the moments when senior Daniel Hougland started to uncover what may be a prehistoric cooking feature and the food remains of some of the earliest Kansans. The proper equipment would help him know exactly what they uncovered.

Uncovering Kansas

Prehistoric findings on archaeological dig excite students, keep them busy 

Washburn students were halfway through the last day of a 10-day archaeological dig when Daniel Hougland’s trowel scraped against something that wasn’t soil.

“That’s a big chunk of charcoal,” he said.

Leaning over the unit – a hole about six feet long, two feet wide and now 80 centimeters deep – he ponders the best way to get at what will become a significant find.

Read the whole article.

Initial funds help us prepare for Washburn archaeological field school

June 07, 2017

This July, seven Washburn anthropology students will work at an archaeological site for 10 days as part of the archaeological field school. To prepare, the students successfully completed the archaeological methods course this spring learning the basics of setting up excavation units and documenting artifacts in place (first picture). They also had a chance to work with GPS surveying equipment by systematically mapping items on campus (second picture).

We were able to use initial funds from your gifts to purchase equipment students used to work on archaeological samples from a rockshelter site in northwest Kansas. We practiced the flotation method – a standard method to recover charcoal and lightweight remains such as seeds, shells and bone fragments from soils and sediments (third picture).

For the field school in July, we will first travel to the Ozarks National Scenic Riverways near Van Buren, Missouri, where we will team up with the Odyssey Archaeological Research Program at the University of Kansas, the Center for Archaeological Research at Missouri State University, and the National Park Service. We will open several test units near a large spring – a great location for prehistoric hunter-gatherers! In late July, we will travel to Meade, Kansas, also with the Odyssey Program, to begin initial survey, mapping and excavation at a potential mammoth or mastodon site. At both localities, we plan to collect samples for radiocarbon dating and paleoenvironmental analysis that the students will analyze during the fall semester. Our goal is that each student who conducts laboratory analysis will present their research at Washburn’s annual Aperion event or other local and national conferences.

In order to achieve this goal, we are continuing to raise funds for the proper laboratory equipment to analyze our samples from our excavations. Your funding will help provide research opportunities not just for these students, but for archaeology students in the future. If you already helped support this project, I thank you. I encourage you to share this update with your friends, family and colleagues to help our fundraising efforts continue.

Thank you for helping our new archaeology program grow, and I look forward to providing updates from the field!


Dr. Laura Murphy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Can you dig it?

April 26, 2017

As the semester winds down and we head into summer, students will soon be packing their knapsacks and preparing to travel to Meade, Kansas, to take part in a mammoth dig summer field school. For two weeks, they will do reconnaissance, surveying, mapping and excavation. They will collect soil samples for radiocarbon dating and paleoenvironmental analysis in the lab.

So, that leads us to this project. Many of you have already been real supporters of this project. Can you help us raise the money needed to buy much-needed lab equipment so these kids can analyze the samples they discover at the dig site?

Share this link with your friends and families and fellow archaeology aficionados. Post it on your Facebook page. Tweet it to your friends. Email the link to others who might share your interest in this project.

With your help, we can fund this project. Every gift will help us reach our goal.



Laura Murphy

Assistant professor, anthropology

Choose a giving level



One porcelain mortar and pestle



12-pack of 250 mL glass beakers


Problem Solving

Half the cost of a Vortex mixer



Magnetic stirrer/hot plate



Diamonite mortar and pestle


Scientific Method

Half the cost of a drying oven



Half the cost of the centrifuge