Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Welch, Paul


The creation of the University of Chicago archaeological field schools in 1934 at the Kincaid site in southern Illinois resulted in the dissemination of a standard excavation method, often referred to as the "Chicago Method", across the United States, primarily in the East. Before the field schools, there was no standard practice for excavating Eastern archaeological sites and little was written about the excavation methods that were used. During and after the field schools, archaeologists began to use similar excavation methods and also began to keep better records of their fieldwork. This thesis determines exactly what the "Chicago Method" of excavation was and how it changed over the years of the field schools between 1934 and 1941. This thesis also examines the history and theoretical background of archaeology prior to the formation of the Chicago field schools, the creation and history of the Chicago field schools, the relationship between the field methods and the anthropological goals of the Chicago archaeologists, and the influence of the field schools on archaeologists throughout the eastern United States because of the subsequent spread of methodology by the Chicago field school alumni.




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