Prehistoric Caddoan sites were occupied by the Caddo people in eastern Oklahoma between roughly AD 800-1500.  Sites that are considered Caddoan occur in both the Arkansas River and Red River systems.  Caddoan people lived along major river systems and cultivated crops such as maize, squash, beans, and sunflowers.  Their diets  were supplemented by hunting, especially wild turkey and deer. 

Not all Caddoan sites are the same.  The largest Caddoan sites have monumental earthen mounds that were built during the prehistoric period.  The largest mound site in eastern Oklahoma is the Spiro site, which has 12 mounds.  Archaeological excavations at Caddoan mounds have raised interesting research questions.  It appears that many of the large mound sites had very small resident populations.  Instead of living at the mound sites, most Caddoan peoples lived in the surrounding river valleys in small farmsteads or hamlets comprised of only a few households.

This field school will attempt to address several major questions about Caddoan peoples in eastern Oklahoma, including:

· Do Caddoan mound sites have a  pre-designed layout?  If so, how is it similar to other Late Prehistoric mound sites in the Southeast?

· How were Caddoan sites organized politically?  Is there a better way to understand Caddoan social organization than simply applying existing political models used in the rest of the Southeast?

· What was the nature of Caddoan subsistence?  Is subsistence evidence from mound centers and residential sites substantially different?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Caddoan sites?

Field equipment will be purchased with your equipment fee and  provided by the field school instructors.  Coolers with ice water will be present on the site at all times, but students are advised to bring their own water bottles.   Students should bring their own backpack to carry their dig kits, water, and other items to and from the field.  Living arrangements will either be camping in tents or sharing a field house.  When arrangements are finalized, lists of needed supplies will be circulated to the students and posted here.

What do I need to bring?

Students should be advised that any clothing worn in the field will get extremely dirty and more than likely will be permanently stained.  Light colored, light weight clothing is recommended.  A hat is strongly recommended.  If the site area has heavy underbrush, long pants will be preferable to avoid any injuries due to briars.  For safety purposes, students are required to wear boots with a thick soles.  Sandals will not be permitted in the field under any circumstances.   

What do I wear in the field?

2008 Summer Field School in Archaeology

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Oklahoma Archeological Survey


Anyone who is interested in learning the techniques of basic archaeological excavation is welcome to apply for the field school.  If you are planning on a career in archaeology after graduation, completion of a field school is required for nearly every entry-level job in archaeology.   For OU Anthropology majors, this course satisfies the field work course requirement. 

Why should I take a field school?

Excavations at Dr. Hammerstedt’s 2003 field school in Kentucky.