A summer Nation’s Oldest Port™ Field School provides training to college students and others on conducting underwater archaeological investigations. Training Workshops regarding specific skills related to underwater archaeology are offered, and all follow LAMP Scientific Diving Standards. See our current training and educational opportunities below and call 904.829.0745 for more information.

**All diving activities conducted by LAMP adhere to LAMP Scientific Diving Standards.

Photo: Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program 2019 Field School staff and students.

A field school is an irreplaceable component in the education of any student pursuing a career in archaeology. Each year, the LAMP oversees an intense, four-week accredited educational program allowing both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to participate in a marine survey and underwater excavation of a historic shipwreck site. In addition to methodological training and academic lectures, students get valuable real-world experience in all aspects of archaeological fieldwork, scientific diving and seamanship and laboratory analysis.  LAMP has partnered with a variety of universities, including Flinders University, Florida State University, Syracuse University and Plymouth State University, to organize and implement this four-credit course. All field schools are based in St Augustine, Florida unless otherwise noted. Please see below for information on the upcoming field school. More information on previous field school research, please visit our Keepers’ Blog.

Participation in the Field School can be competitive depending on the numbers of applicants, which have been increasing each year. While not required, you may submit a resume and/or letters of recommendation with your application.

Dates: TBA


*Upon submission, you will be contacted within the week about acceptance.

Research Focus: The “Anniversary Wreck,” an historic vessel from the 1700s located just off the coast of St. Augustine. Students will also have the opportunity to investigate a variety of other maritime archaeological sites in the waters and/or tidal zones around St. Augustine.

Skills, Procedures & Lectures: Students will also be instructed in scientific diving procedures, archaeological recording and excavation, the use of hydraulic probes and induction dredges, marine remote sensing survey and analysis (magnetometer & sidescan sonar), artifact collection and documentation and basic conservation laboratory methodology. Additionally, the field school will host an evening lecture series with instructors and visiting professionals from various public, private and academic institutions throughout Florida.


  • Students must be scuba-certified and EITHER qualify as a scientific diver through AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Sciences) or a similar institution OR qualify as a scientific-diver-in-training through LAMP’s scientific diver program. These requirements include a specific medical exam to be completed prior to field school and a swim test to be conducted upon arrival. More information and downloads of the medical exam form and other required paperwork are available below.
  • Students must have DAN diving accident insurance covering at least $125,000 for skin and scuba diving injuries, or an equivalent policy.
  • Students must hold current CPR and First Aid certifications.
  • Students must provide their own transportation to and from St. Augustine, Florida.

Housing: LAMP maintains a Field House on five acres of rural property just outside St. Augustine. Expect dormitory-type conditions. The house is furnished with air conditioning, two bathrooms and a fully-operational kitchen. Students should provide their own bedding (sheets, pillow, blanket, etc.). If students wish to camp on the land around the field house they should bring their own tent/gear. A refundable $30.00 deposit is required for a field house key.

Meals: Meals are communal and prepared each day by the field school participants on a rotating basis. Each student is assigned to a weekly Kitchen Patrol roster. The budget for purchasing food is derived from the field school fee charged to all students. Students are responsible for their own food on weekends.

Online Application Forms and Fees: The fee for the field school is $3,400. A $250 deposit is due upon acceptance and the remainder is due on the first day of class; all fees are payable to LAMP. This fee includes housing, food (except on weekends when you are responsible for your own food), all diving gear (other than mask, fins, snorkels, & booties), air fills, dive locker, classroom and laboratory facilities. The deposit and remaining balance may be paid with check or credit card.

Scholarships are available through the Archaeological Institute of America. Click here to apply.

Graduate or undergraduate credit: Students may receive four credit hours for completing the full four-week program. Tuition must be paid separately through the university issuing credit and the tuition cost is separate from the Field School fee payable to LAMP. College credit is available through Plymouth State University or through your own institution, if appropriate arrangements are made. Students are also responsible for the required diving insurance, diving medical exam and CPR/First Aid before the start of the course, as outlined below Plymouth State University tuition costs are as follows:

  • Undergraduate In-state (New Hampshire): $380.00 per credit hour
  • Undergraduate Out-of-state: $418.00 per credit hour
  • Graduate In-state: $512.00 per credit hour
  • Graduate Out-of-state: $559.00 per credit hour

For questions, please email Archaeologist Allyson Ropp. See her contact information below.

Allyson Ropp
81 Lighthouse Avenue
St. Augustine, Florida 32080
Phone: 904-829-0745, ext. 247

Remote sensing is often the first stage of maritime research in the field. Prior to disturbance of submerged bottomlands (river beds, lake bottoms, the ocean floor), a survey is carried out to locate submerged cultural resources. Historic shipwrecks, paleo-channels, even aircraft may be located using remote sensing technology. A suite of remote sensing gear typically includes sidescan sonar and a marine magnetometer.

2020 Workshop

St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) will hold a Remote Sensing workshop in 2020.  Special scheduling is available on request. If you are interested, please contact Archaeologist Austin Burkhard at aburkhard@staugustinelighthouse.org or call 904-829-0745 ext. 203.

This class will indoctrinate the student on the basic principles of archaeological underwater survey using a sidescan sonar and marine magnetometer. Through the four-day course, a series of classroom and field experiences will demonstrate the procedures of establishing and undertaking a survey. After learning how to gather and collect data, students will learn how to analyze acoustic and magnetic data.

The sidescan sonar can scan a submerged landscape with soundwaves and translate that into an image of the bottom. In that image, we can detect items which may have historic significance. A marine magnetometer has the ability to sense magnetic deviations in the earth’s magnetic field. Things like historic shipwrecks, containing iron fasteners, anchors, or cannon, may be located with a magnetometer even if buried within a submerged bottom.

Requirements: While archaeological experience is helpful, it is not required. Students may simply wish to experience sidescan sonography or magnetometry as an introduction to maritime survey or hydrographic study. This course places students into a hands-on environment where they can learn while having instructors on-hand to help and guide the process.

The course includes:

  • Classroom Lectures
  • Equipment Setup and Usage
  • Basic Operation and Troubleshooting
  • Software Use
  • Course Packet
  • Vessel Time

Housing: LAMP maintains a Field House on five acres of rural property just outside St. Augustine. Expect dormitory-type conditions though the house is furnished with air conditioning, two bathrooms and a fully-operational kitchen. Participant will need to bring their own bedding (sheets, pillow, blanket, et.) toiletries, lunch, and transportation to St. Augustine and from the Field House to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.

Scientific diving is defined as diving that is necessary to and part of a scientific research or educational activity. Unlike recreational diving, scientific diving is task-oriented, conducted to achieve specific research goals, and strictly follows nationally recognized standards of practice, supervision, and organization. Scientific diving differs from commercial diving in that its sole goal is to support research for the advancement of science, as opposed to the generation of profits through underwater engineering or construction efforts. Diving to accomplish research goals involves more risk than diving simply for fun, which is why a system of organizational oversight, dive supervision, and safety standards must be adhered to. Since the advent of organizations such as the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS), however, science diving has proven to have an excellent record of safety.

All diving activities conducted under the auspices of LAMP must follow LAMP’s Standards for Scientific Diving, and are overseen by the LAMP Diving Safety Officer (Austin Burkhard) and the LAMP Diving Control Board.

How to Join

Divers wishing to join LAMP’s scientific diving team as volunteers must meet a series of particular requirements, such as basic swim and scuba test and successful medical exam, and undergo additional diving and archeological training taught by LAMP staff. A diver must first meet the requirements as a Scientific Diver-in-Training, which qualifies him or her to dive on research dives when accompanied by an Active LAMP scientific diver. After 12 science dives and 100 hours of further training, a dedicated dive volunteer may be certified as an Active Scientific Diver in his or her own right. These standards are designed primarily with safety in mind, as research dives in northeast Florida often entail task-loading and adverse conditions. For example, an archaeologist might be charged with laying out a transect and taking measurements from positioned datum points, involving the use of a hammer, rebar stakes, a compass, tape measure, and clipboard all in low visibility and strong currents. While it takes skill and experience to safely and efficiently gather data underwater, this comes with training and practice and the challenges are worth the effort.

We invite you to join us as we dive into history! Certified divers wishing to volunteer for LAMP’s Scientific Diving Program should first download LAMP Scientific Diver Packet and thoroughly read it. The first part, “Introduction to LAMP’s Scientific Diving Program, provides a brief overview of maritime archaeology and science diving, and also outlines the specific requirements you will need to meet in order to dive on LAMP research projects as a Diver-in-Training or eventually an Active Scientific Diver. The included forms are required personal and medical questionnaires and a liability waiver.

*****Please download and read this note on our diving conditions and requirements.*****

Once applicants have submitted their application forms, LAMP archaeologists will interview them, and those still interested will have a rare opportunity to participate in a unique training program and work side by side with underwater archaeologists. Please note, the required diving medical exam may entail some expense on your part, so you may wish to put it off until you have been formally accepted into our Scientific Diving Program. Once accepted into the Scientific Diving Program, fill out the online volunteer application.