TAS Field School
General Camp Information
Assembled in the program area after supper, Field School
attendees get the low-down about the day's findings at the early evening
program. An equipment trailer and the cook trailer are in the background.
For the hundreds of you that attend the Field School (FS)
regularly, much of what is said here will be known, but to those who are new to
TAS or who haven't attended FS, the following information will supplement the
generic camp rules and equipment lists also on the website.
Our goal is first and foremost accomplishing the objective of
our Principal Investigator (PI), and second, having fun while doing it.
And that in part is what this is about. When things go wrong, that is not
fun. We are trying to prevent trouble by helping you to know what to
expect and what to bring.
Arrival at Camp
Even though the FS runs from Saturday through Saturday, it is
best if you can arrive at the camp on Friday so you can get set up that day.
That can also give you a chance to find your crew assignment on the bulletin
board and possibly locate your crew chief or some of your crew. Newcomers'
orientation is held the first three days of the Field School; there is only one
day of orientation, but it is held three times for those arriving at different
times. Field School really starts at 7:00 AM Saturday. Unless a
newcomer, early that morning you will meet with your crew chief and find out
your assignment. Because people are gathering to leave for the site at
7:00, if you arrive later that day, you will miss most of the first day of Field
School and much of the instruction that is given Saturday morning. While
we do pride ourselves on our efficiency, that first Saturday morning is not very
efficient. Directed chaos is a better description. Any lead time you
can manage to get acquainted with camp life and oriented for your work
assignment will be a bonus to the over-all organization, especially for those
with crew chief or other work responsibilities.
The Field School Registrar should e-mail or mail to you (along
with your receipt if by mail) available information which could include
emergency numbers, a tentative schedule, a list of the programs, a list of
meals, specific camp rules, equipment lists, and a map with instructions on how
to get to the camp site, as the camp site and the dig site are often not at the
same location. As you get close to the camp site, there will be signs
directing you to camp.
Each year there is an attempt to put the registration table
close to the center of activities in the camp, the location where meals and
programs will be held. More specific information about where this is may
be in your initial contact information. You should stop here and check in.
You will be given your name tag, t-shirt if you ordered one, and your packet
with information about where to camp and where things are placed around the camp
area. You now will go on to the camping area where you may pick out a site
and set up your tent or camper, etc.
Camp and Supplies for Camp
Campers and RV's with generators don't usually park among the
tents; if you plan to run a generator any time during FS, you normally park in a
designated area away from the main camp. When days are so full of
activities, the ability to sleep at night with minimal interruption is prized.
There may or may not be electrical hookups or dump stations. Specific
details are part of each year's information.
While we are talking about camp, let's go over some of the
equipment you will need. First you will need something to sleep in or
under. Because of our long-standing record of bringing drought-breaking
rains or floods to the area of the FS, we most heartily suggest at least a
non-leaking tent, along with something to sleep on. Don't forget bedding.
And while there is usually drinking water at the camp, you will need to have
something to bring it back to your campsite.
TAS folks are always willing to put a musical group
together. Adults accompanying this evening's songfest are (L to R) Ralph
Vinson, vocal; Steve Hays and Robin Matthews, guitars; Alice Stultz, banjo; and
Nick Morgan, guitar. Herminio Aguilar-Garza, guitar, has slipped behind
one of the youth. Katherine Turner-Pearson assists the younger members in
the rhythm section.
You will also want at least one light-weight chair per person to
take to the nightly programs and to the cook trailer area if you are purchasing
your breakfasts and/or dinners. If you can manage two chairs per person,
that will allow you to leave one chair in the program/meal area and still have
seating at your campsite. You may prepare your own meals or buy the ones
offered by TAS. The TAS menu is diverse and provides the advantage of not
having to cook or leave camp for breakfast or dinner (you are on your own for
lunch). The TAS dining area frequently does not come with seating or
eating surfaces, so do bring a camp/TV table to use. It would be helpful
for each person to have some sort of tray for supporting and transporting
dinnerware and foodstuffs at meals from the food line to your eating/seating
spot (plastic/paper plates, cups, and dinnerware are provided for purchased
meals). If you are not purchasing meals, you will need to bring whatever
cooking equipment you need and a stove of some type, since ground fires are
often not allowed. Make sure you put your name on your property; many
items look alike. Even if you are buying your meals, you will want to have
a cooler or two for drinks and food for your noon meal. Don't forget water
jugs, flatware, and dishes for camp needs and meals you prepare. Ice will
be sold at the camp site, normally close to the cook trailer and water source.
Not everyone chooses to camp out, and motels are usually
available in the Field School area. A decision on where you will stay will
depend on your finances, the availability of accommodations other than those
provided at camp, and whether the camaraderie that is shared by those staying in
the camp area will outweigh the additional luxuries of hot water and
air-conditioning provided by a motel.
As for clothing, it should be rugged; much of our work requires
us to get down and dirty. Most of the members bring a clothes change for
each day in camp, but some people are able to get a couple of days wear out of
one set (don’t count on it). As afternoons are free (though teachers'
training is normally scheduled around 3:00 PM during the first part of the week)
you can often go into town to a laundromat. Porta-cans and communal men's
and women's cold water showers are available in the camping area (don't forget
your towels and toiletries); porta-cans are also provided at the site(s).
If you are bringing one or more children, you will be expected
to help at least one day with the Youth Program. The FS is
family-oriented; a full schedule of training in archeological techniques and fun
activities is planned for the younger crowd (from ca. 7 years of age until a
youngster is sufficiently trained and mature enough to join an adult crew).
And this brings up the subject of tools, since the children as well as adults
will need their own set. A kind of a starter set would be: a brick mason’s
trowel – the handle should be welded, not braded to the blade; Marshalltown and
Goldblatt are two of the best ones. Everyone will also need small brushes
(whisk broom and paint brush), some kind of dust pan to remove dirt and dust
with, a pail, a metric tape, a line level, a pencil and a sharpener. You
should also bring a hat, insect repellent, sun screen, first aid kit, and any
medicine taken on a regular basis. And if you want to swim in the
river/lake (when such is available), bring your bathing suit and water shoes.
River beds and lake bottoms (and their shores) are not always kind to feet and
may be slippery.
On a typical day you will be awakened at 5:00 AM. The
method varies, but usually involves a camp boss sort driving through the camping
area with horn honking. Expect an early-morning run on the porta-cans that
are stationed around the camp area. Ideally, porta-cans are serviced every
other day during FS. Breakfast (for those who purchase it) will be served
from 5:30 to 6:30 AM. Everyone leaves for the site(s) by 7:00, normally
car-pooling to save on gas and parking spaces. Crew chiefs usually
schedule a break around 10:00 in the morning. However, please take a break
whenever you feel the need; gauge your reaction to the work and heat.
Bring a snack of some kind and plenty of drinking water. Children also
need these provisions, though additional snacks and drinks are provided in their
work area. Those participating in the Youth Program can also expect at
least one special field trip during the week.
We usually leave the site and head back to camp around 1:00 PM.
As stated above, afternoons are normally open or offer field trips to sites or
other points of interest in the area. Dinner for those who are eating the
FS meals will be from 5:30-6:30 PM. After dinner you can enjoy a little
more social time until the early evening program (usually 7:00 until 9:00 PM).
The main program will begin at 9:00 PM. The starting time is late because
it must be reasonably dark to view the evening program. Curfew is at 11:00
PM. All camp rules and regulations will be posted on the bulletin board in
the main gathering area, as will the crew assignment lists.
We hope this gives you a good overview of Field School
logistics. Information tailored to each year's Field School is made
available in January.