Foundation for Polish History and Culture
Slavia Slavia Slavia Slavia Slavia

Frequently Asked Questions...

Collected by Amanda Agnew, BA, Ohio State University graduate student

Q. Is there a minimum age required to participate in field school?
A. Yes, you must be at least 18 years old to participate.

Q. Do I have to be getting a degree in Anthropology/Archaeology to participate in the field school?
A. No, we welcome people with all interests.

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.

Q. If I have no archaeological field experience, can I still participate in field school?
A. Yes, you can still participate. This program is meant to give you training in archaeology and is designed for students with little or no experience.

Q. Do I have to have experience in human osteology to participate in field school?
A. No. We look for students with varying interests in archaeology. 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. For students with prior experience, the program is designed to give you a complete hands-on experience as we have an excellent skeleton collection to practice with.

Q. Is the skeletal collection available for students to conduct research?
A. No, not at this time. However, the collection is available to enhance your knowledge by gaining hands-on experience.

Q. Will I have the opportunity to excavate a skeleton myself?
A. All skeletons are excavated under the supervision of the staff osteologist, however, once instruction is given, the osteologist will play a much smaller role. All students will have the opportunity to fully excavate at least one skeleton and hopefully 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 bioprofiles 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 on their own about every situation as well.

Q. Do I need to speak Polish? Is there someone there that can translate?
A. Our staff consists of both Polish and American instructors. It is not required or necessary that you speak Polish. Most of the Polish staff speaks some English and we have an on-site translator as well. Our osteology staff is made up of native English speakers. The only time it may become a problem is if you will be traveling around or are in areas outside of Giecz. It is because of this that I would recommend buying a Polish phrasebook for your trip.

Q. Will we be interacting with Polish people?
A. Yes. A part of the program consists of learning Polish history, but being immersed in modern Polish culture is just as important. Our site archaeologists are Polish and have students of their own that will 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 extra food and things in Giecz. It is necessary to have some extra funds available to you, 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 outside of Giecz, in Poland, a VISA card will be accepted and this is the easiest possible way to pay for things. The credit card company does the exchange and you don't have to worry about it. Traveler's checks are safe but not really necessary. They can be difficult to exchange in Giecz. We recommend you bring some cash to exchange upon arrival and then use ATM machines to withdraw money. The ATM 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 (laundry detergent, 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 non-existent crime. As far as wildlife goes, you may see an occasional stork or dog, but nothing threatening, except for the bird sized mosquitoes (bring bug spray)! There are no snakes, scorpions, wolves, or any other live obstacles to compete with at the site. The war in Iraq has no effect on us in Giecz, so it's not something to worry about at all.

Q. What should I bring?

Q. What is the weather like?
A. The weather is slightly unpredictable, but overall, very nice. Some days it will be 80 degrees and sunny and others it will drop to 50 and pour rain. The weather can make drastic changes very quickly and the temperature makes large jumps from days to nights. It's important to bring clothes for ALL types of weather (from tank tops and shorts, to jeans and sweaters and rain coats).

Q. How do I receive credit for this field school?
A. Check with your university to confirm that they will accept transfer credits from Adam Mickiewicz University. 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.

Q. Do we work on the weekends?
A. No, weekends are spent traveling to various places and relaxing. Saturdays consist of a field trip to a nearby city or village and Sundays are spent in Giecz. You will have the entire day Sunday to yourself. Prepare (bring things to do) accordingly.

Q. How much free time do we have?
A. Weekends are free time for students (except for during field trips). There is almost always work to be done, but it is optional during these times. It's good to bring things to do with you. Examples: playing cards, books, games, music, etc.

Q. What are our sleeping arrangements?
A. We all sleep in beds in two houses (no, you won't be staying in tents). Small pillows are provided for you, but it is necessary to bring some sort of bedding (sleeping bag, blankets, etc). You may also consider bringing an additional pillow. There will be separate girls and boys rooms, although each house has only one bathroom.

Q. Do we have access to the Internet and phone?
A. We do not have internet access from Giecz. On the rare occasion that we get into the city, there are accessible internet café's nearby. We do have two phones in one of our houses that can be used at your convenience. It is absolutely necessary to have an international calling card for use of the phone, so please make sure to purchase one before you arrive.

Q. Do I need an outlet adapter?
A. Not necessarily, but if you want to charge a camera, run a hairdryer, things like this, then YES it would be a good idea. It's a two pronged plug for Eastern European countries and it can be bought at any travel or electronics store. 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.

Q. Are laundry facilities available?
A. Yes. We have a small washing machine (no dryer) that will be available on a rotating basis (about once a week). If you want to bring powder detergent with you, that's fine, or you can buy it at the small store in Giecz. We have clothes lines outside and in the attic for drying clothes.

Q. Are all of our meals provided?
A. Yes, you will receive 4 meals a day, prepared by a local woman who is an extremely good cook. If you don't like bread or potatoes, you may have a problem, but vegetarians can be accommodated. The only things you might want that you don't get fed will be things like ice cream, candy, fruit, 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. Is this the right field school for me?
A. This is an awesome experience and is perfect for students studying 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, so you will be expected to participate in ALL field school activities. You should also realize that this is an ongoing archaeological exploration. Your work will contribute to the project as a whole and you will be expected to participate actively. We have a good time and enjoy ourselves, but we also work hard. Also, 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