Foundation for Polish History and Culture
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Frequently Asked Questions...

Q. Is there a minimum age required to participate in field school?
A. You must be at least 18 years old to participate.
Q. Do you accept volunteers?
A. We are accepting both students and volunteers on a limited basis.
Q. Can the field school provide financial support?
A. At the present time, we cannot offer any assistance with the payment of course fees or travel. We encourage you to seek out funding opportunities through your local university and study abroad programs.
Q. Do I have to be earning a degree in Anthropology/Archaeology to participate in the field school?
A. We welcome people with all academic interests including biological and cultural anthropology, archaeology, history, and others.
Q. If I have no archaeological field experience yet, can I still participate in field school?
A. Yes, you can still participate. We welcome students at all levels of experience. This program is meant to give you initial training in archaeology and is perfect for students with little or no experience, and can also accommodate those with more advanced training.
Q. Do I need to have experience in human osteology to participate in field school?
A. We look for students with varying interests and experience. The program is designed for students with little or no osteology knowledge. A short-course in human osteology is included as part of your training, which is required for all participants. For students with prior experience, the program offers a complete hands-on experience with an excellent skeleton collection to practice your skills.
Q. Is the skeletal collection available for students to conduct research during field school?
A. Not at this time. However, the collection is available throughout the field school to practice osteological identification and techniques with the oversight of our experienced staff.
Q. Will I have the opportunity to excavate a skeleton myself?
A. All students will have the opportunity to excavate at least one skeleton and ideally many more (of course, depending on how many are found in any given field season). Students work in rotating groups of 2 or 3 throughout the excavation process, ensuring everyone gets a chance to participate in all aspects of excavation from initial discovery, to fine cleaning, documentation (including photography and drawing), and skeleton removal. Students will then have the chance to follow these skeletons into the lab and further document and curate the remains including careful washing, labeling, and aiding in creating biological profiles of each skeleton. These tasks are always performed under the supervision of an osteologist. The staff strives to create a uniquely independent learning environment, where students are given plenty of help and instruction, but are encouraged to think critically and work independently at their comfort level.
Q. Do I need to speak Polish? Is there someone there that can translate?
A. English is the official language of all instruction at the field school. It is not required or necessary that you speak Polish. Most of the Polish staff speak English and we have an on-site translator. Our osteology staff is comprised of native English speakers
Q. Will we be interacting with Polish people?
A. A part of the program consists of learning Polish history, and being immersed in modern Polish culture is just as important. Our site archaeologists are Polish and have students of their own that may be staying with you. This provides good opportunity to pick up some of the language and interact (make friends) with Polish students. It also makes it more fun!
Q. Do I need to bring spending money?
A. Yes, there will be times when you will travel to surrounding towns and you may want to stay overnight in Poznań, buy souvenirs, etc. Also, you may want to buy snacks and beverages in Giecz. It is necessary to have some extra funds available at your discretion, outside of your included field school costs.
Q. What form of money should I travel with? Can I get cash in Giecz?
A. Almost anywhere, a VISA card will be accepted and this is the easiest way to pay for things. Additionally, we recommend you bring some cash to Giecz - it is easiest to withdraw from the ATM in Poznan, and it will also give you the most current exchange rate. It is very important to get some Polish currency (Złoty) before coming to Giecz. You can use an ATM machine in Poznań upon arrival or you can order it through your bank in the US. There is NO ATM MACHINE IN GIECZ! You may need cash in Giecz to buy some essentials (bug spray, ice cream, etc.) so please be prepared and have cash.
Q. How do I get to Giecz from Poznań?
A. Everyone will be meeting in Poznań on a specified date at a certain time. You will be responsible for finding accommodations in Poznań until the agreed upon meeting time. From there, we will arrange transportation for everyone as a group from Poznań to Giecz. The staff will be in contact with you about a meeting time and place.
Q. Is Giecz a safe place to be?
A. Giecz is very safe. It is a small town with few people and almost non-existent crime. Conflicts in other European areas have no impact on life in Giecz for field school students. As far as wildlife goes, you may see an occasional stork or dog, but nothing threatening, except for the large mosquitoes (bring bug spray)! There are no snakes, scorpions, wolves, or any other live obstacles to compete with at the site.
Q. What should I bring?
A. We have an extensive list of required and recommended items to bring in order for you to be as comfortable as possible during your stay. See below:

Required Items
  • Backpack or field bag
  • Lined journal/notebook and pens/pencils
  • Osteology textbook
  • Closed-toe work shoes are necessary for excavation, but sandals, flip-flops, and tennis shoes are allowed on the site
  • Comfortable walking shoes (you will walk ~20 min to the site most days on a rocky dirt road)
  • Work gloves
  • A variety of comfortable work clothes that can be worn in layers including a hat
  • Personal toiletries including sunscreen, insect repellent, medication, and first aid supplies
  • Shower and hand towels
  • Sunglasses
  • Blanket or sleeping bag

Recommended Items
  • Refillable water bottle. Bottled water will be provided by the Field School
  • Plastic reusable container to transport lunch items to the field
  • Books to read in the evening or on weekends
  • Comfortable sleepwear
  • Shower caddy and shower shoes (flip-flops)
  • Pillow
  • International electrical travel adapter (continental Europe; 2 round prongs)
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Umbrella and/or rainwear
  • Cell phones and camera are allowed on-site, but please ask permission to take photos and always be respectful of the site and others.
Q. What is the weather like in Giecz?
A. The weather is slightly unpredictable, but overall, very nice. It is generally not humid. Some days it will be 85°F and sunny and others it will drop to 50° and pour rain. The weather can make drastic changes very quickly from day to day and the temperature makes large jumps from days to nights as well. Therefore, it is important to bring clothes for ALL types of weather and plan on wearing layers (from tank tops and shorts, to jeans, sweaters, and rain coats).
Q. How do I receive credit for this field school?
A. There are 2 options for receiving credit for field school, and they are not mutually exclusive (meaning you can choose both if you prefer).
  1. Check with your university to confirm that they will accept transfer credits from Adam Mickiewicz University, where you can receive 9 credits. Make sure that you have all transfer information before coming to Giecz as well as the address to which your transcripts should be sent. After we receive confirmation from you of desiring credit, we will submit your grades and registrar information to the university. Transcripts usually come out around the end of September. These credits can be earned with NO ADDITIONAL fees outside the field school fees.
  2. Additionally, you have the option of receiving 3 course credits from The Ohio State University. This is a good option if your university will not accept transcripts from a foreign academic institution. Undergraduate or graduate credits are available. This option requires the student to pay OSU tuition IN ADDITION to field school fees.
Q. How much free time do we have?
A. After 19:00 (7 pm) each evening during weeknights comprise free time for students. Also, we do not work on the weekends, so students have this time to arrange travel on their own to nearby places at their leisure. We finish instruction at 16:00 (4pm) on Fridays, and students are expected to return to the fieldhouse by 22:00 (10pm) on Sundays. One Saturday there will be an arranged field trip to a nearby archaeological site, but otherwise all weekends are considered personal time for students. It's good to bring things to do with you such as playing cards, books, music, etc.
Q. What are the sleeping arrangements?
A. We all live and sleep in one school house. Students will be split between multiple available rooms, but should be prepared to share their space with other students of the same gender (i.e., we do not provide private rooms). Every student will be assigned an air mattress, and small pillows are also provided, but it is necessary to bring some sort of bedding (sleeping bag, blankets, etc). You may also consider bringing an additional pillow.
Q. Do we have access to the Internet and phone?
A. The school house that we live in has WiFi which will be free for your use, but there is no guarantee it will be working efficiently at all times. There is a cell tower nearby so your mobile phone will be capable of getting a signal from anywhere in Giecz. It is the student's responsibility to check with their mobile provider for international service and charges.
Q. Do I need an outlet adapter?
A. If you plan to plug anything in, you will need an outlet adapter. It is a two pronged plug for European countries and it can be bought at any travel store or online. There are also voltage/wattage adapters. Make sure you check the voltage on the item you plan to plug in and get an adapter that complies with it and then the corresponding plug as well. Your computer, tablet, and phone charger likely has built in capabilities to convert to different power.
Q. Are laundry facilities available?
A. We have a small washing machine (no dryer) that will be available for everyone on a rotating basis (about once a week). Detergent will be provided, but if you have a soap allergy or are picky about detergent, you should plan to bring your own power or liquid detergent. We have some clothes lines outside for drying clothes in the sun.
Q. Are all of our meals provided?
A. You will receive 4 meals a day, prepared by a local restaurant and brought to the school house. Vegetarians or those with other dietary restrictions can be accommodated. The only things you might want that isn't provided will be snacks like ice cream, candy, chips, soda, etc. These things can be purchased at the store in town.
Q. Will we ever need nice clothes?
A. You will be out in the field every day getting extremely dirty, so make sure to bring your field clothes and things that you may want to throw out later. For the weekends, on the fieldtrips or trips into the city, you may want to bring some CLEAN clothes, but they don't have to be anything special: just things that travel easily.
Q. Do I need to bring my own excavation tools?
A. All basic equipment necessary to partake in field school will be provided (e.g., shovels, trowels, buckets, screens). However, if students would like to bring their own personal trowels, excavation tools, etc., that is acceptable. Keep in mind that only wooden tools are allowed to be used on skeletal material, so metal picks or instruments should be left at home. Students are encouraged to bring some personal supplies, such as knee-pads, gloves, hats, etc., based on personal preferences and comfort level.
Q. Is this the right field school for me?
A. This is an awesome experience and is perfect for students studying bioarchaeology, settlement and/or mortuary archaeology, osteology (human and faunal), medieval studies, history, and many other things. Please remember that this is a "field school" and will not solely focus on any one aspect of anthropology/archaeology but will cover many different areas. We try our best to give you a broad base of knowledge. You should also realize that this is an ongoing archaeological exploration and research project. Your work will contribute to the project as a whole and you will be expected to participate actively as a vital team member. We have a good time and enjoy ourselves, but we also work hard, so be prepared to be tired and also very satisfied with your accomplishments in Giecz. Please keep in mind that you will be in a foreign country for a month. For some, this is a wonderful getaway, but for others it may get hard to be away that long. Just remember that this is a brief time away and cherish this unique experience while it lasts.
© Slavia — Foundation for Polish History and Culture