During the month of June 2016, 12 K-State undergraduates joined Drs. Brad Logan and Lauren W. Ritterbush in exploring the prehistoric cultural landscape of the Manhattan area through the Kansas Archaeological Field School. The students learned standard archaeological field techniques for recovering data from various prehistoric archaeological sites in the Wildcat Creek drainage. Their experience included survey and excavation designed to evaluate the significance of two adjacent sites for the National Register of Historic Places. They also surveyed several specialized upland sites including one where ancestral Native Americans tested and recovered chert for making stone tools, perhaps over thousands of years. During their final weeks they practiced mapping skills (using a total station and GPS), establishing a grid, site plan drawing and photography, and various excavation skills on yet another site.
The state archaeologist of Kansas joined the crew for this unique experience widening the breadth of student learning and discovery. These were also expanded through field trips to an ongoing archaeological project at an historic site in Council Grove, the Flint Hills Discovery Center, and the Pawnee Indian Museum State Historic Site. The team of students bravely weathered the unusually hot June with good humor, gained much knowledge and experience, and enjoyed the training, discovery, and camaraderie.