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Medieval Worlds 2013 - A Northwestern study abroad experience
by Cindy Chen

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Karey Fuhs
Assistant Director, IPD Study Abroad
(847) 467-6953

Schedule Appointment

Location: Kent & Hampshire Counties, England
Term: 4-week Summer Program (2014 Program Dates: August 1-23)
Application Deadline: March 1, 2015
Fellowship Application Deadline: March 1, 2015
Language Requirement: None - courses are taught in English


The Northwestern IPD Field Studies in Archaeology: Medieval Worlds program is a summer field archaeology experience, which introduces students to the culture, economy, and society of medieval Europe through an exploration of material evidence – landscapes, buildings, and objects – in the English countryside. In Summer 2014, students will join two existing projects: an excavation at Basing House, a once-magnificent Tudor castle and palace besieged in the English Civil War, and a survey of Ightham Mote and Knole, two sites dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Through structured fieldwork and visits, presentations, and discussions of medieval castles, palaces, and other monuments, students will receive practical training in archaeological field methods and experience the culture of medieval Europe. The program offers the equivalent of two quarter units. Matthew Johnson, Professor of Anthropology, will lead the program and teach both courses.


Students will spend one week in the village of Old Basing in the county of Hampshire, where Basing House is located. For the rest of the program, students will be based at Knole and Ightham Mote, in the middle of the Kent countryside, about 45 miles south-east of central London. Knole is one of the great treasure houses of England and home to furniture, portraits, textiles and silver from the royal palaces. Ightham Mote is a 14th century moated manor house, which has been owned by medieval knights, courtiers to Henry VIII and high society Victorians.


Students will stay at a bed and breakfast in Old Basing for the first week of the program. Then they will move to Outridge Base Camp, a hostel-style accommodation with two bedrooms (assigned by gender) and communal kitchen, dining, and living areas, provided by the National Trust. Breakfast and bag lunches will be provided, as well as most dinners. Students will need to purchase their own meals on the weekends.


Both courses are taught by Matthew Johnson. Students on this program receive direct credit and grades on their Northwestern transcript for all classes.

ANTHRO 321-SA: Archaeological Field Methods (1 credit)
In this course, students will receive practical training in archaeological field methods and techniques, including landscape survey methodologies and mapping through computer aided technologies. Each student is responsible for maintaining a field notebook that will be reviewed and graded in the middle and end of the program.

ANTHRO 390-SA: Material Worlds of the Middle Ages (1 credit)
In this course, students learn about the culture of medieval Europe, circa AD1000-1500, through material evidence—landscapes, buildings and objects. The course material will be interdisciplinary: students will look at the evidence of archaeological excavations, survey of standing buildings, analysis of maps and aerial photos, and landscape, social, economic and architectural history. 


Excursions will be arranged in London during and after the field program. Possible excursions in London include visits to the British Museum’s Sutton Hoo, Early Medieval and Medieval galleries, the Museum of London’s medieval galleries, and the Tower of London, among other possibilities. A London church tour may also include visits to St. Bartholomew’s, Temple Church, and Westminster Abbey.

Winchester, Hampshire, England
Located approximately 60 miles southwest of London in the heart of Hampshire County, the historic city of Winchester is the former capital of England. A possible excursion to Winchester may include visits to Winchester Cathedral, one of Europe’s largest Gothic cathedrals, Winchester College, and Winchester Castle, famed for its reproduction of King Arthur’s legendary Round Table.

Various sites in Wessex and Kent Counties
Students may have opportunities to visit landmarks in Hampshire, Wessex and Kent counties, near their field sites. Possible visits include The Vyne, Old Basing Church, Old Sarum, Portchester Castle, Chichester Cathedral, Weald and Downland open-air museum at Singleton, Dover, Tonbridge, Westenhanger, Hastings (and Battle Abbey, site of the Battle of Hastings), Herstmonceux, Scotney and Bodiam castles, Old Soar Manor, Canterbury, Rye, and Winchelsea.


Summer 2014 Program Fee = $4,900, which includes tuition, program-related excursions, HTH Worldwide Health Insurance, and housing. Students should also budget about $1,400 for international airfare and approximately $1,200 for discretionary expenses, including books and materials, meals, non-program transportation, personal travel, and incidentals.

Students applying to this program are eligible for IPD Study Abroad Fellowships and may be eligible for external funding opportunities. Students participating in this program are subject to Withdrawal Policies for Northwestern-Sponsored Programs.

For more information about billing, finances, and financial aid for study abroad, please refer to the Money Matters resource page of the Study Abroad Office website or contact Krista Buda Bethel in the Financial Aid Office.