Kansas Archeology Training Program Field School
to Be Held in Shawnee County:
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
June 4-20, 2021
TOPEKA—The Kansas Historical Society and the Kansas Anthropological Association announced on Jan. 8 that the Kansas Archeology Training Program (KATP) will be held at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, in Topeka. The annual field school will partner with the park and the National Park Service’s Midwest Archeological Center (MWAC). The park includes the Monroe Elementary School and commemorates the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end the nation’s legal segregation. The landmark victory for civil rights in America helped to inspire the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The national historic site is located where Monroe Elementary School was built in 1927 and the previous Monroe School was built in 1874. Both were intended as segregated schools for Black children, one of four in Topeka, until the 1954 court decision.
The goal of the 2021 KATP is to expand on knowledge of the school property from the early years when it was purchased by John Ritchie in 1855 and later when the current Monroe school was built. The field school will be an opportunity to explore some of the structures buried on the property that once stood near the earlier Monroe school. Little information in known regarding the preservation of these structures. Through the use of archeology it is hoped to gain a better understanding of those who lived in the Monroe school neighborhood. This project will help tell of the crucial time between the Civil War and the Civil Rights eras that had a profound impact on people’s lives throughout the nation. Visitors to this national site are often unaware or unable to understand the property’s broader history prior to the 1954 court decision. Research goals will be shaped by input from the National Park Service to help assist them in telling this story and to gain more understanding about the community that surrounded this school.
The annual KATP field school is an opportunity for the public to work alongside professional and avocational archeologists in finding and excavating archeological sites and processing the resulting artifacts in the lab. No experience is necessary—just a desire to learn. Volunteers can attend for a few days or the entire 17 days of the field school. Participants must be at least 12 years old and children aged 12-17 must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. Classroom courses on archeology are also offered and can be taken for college credit through Emporia State University for an additional fee. Artifacts found at the site will be processed in the archeology laboratory at the Kansas Historical Society.
The registration fee for members of the Kansas Historical Society and the Kansas Anthropological Association is $35 for standard participants, $25 for participants 65 or older, $15 for all students currently enrolled at a middle school, high school, or college. There is no fee for students enrolled for college credit through Emporia State University. The nonmember fee is $90.
Registration will be available online through kshs.org from April 1-June 1, 2021. Registration is limited based on activity on a day-by-day basis.
A full schedule of evening programs will be held in Topeka; admission to the programs is free and open to the public. A tentative schedule of programs will be posted online. Find more online at kshs.org/14622.
**Due to the current public health crisis, the KATP field school is subject to cancellation. This decision will be made prior to the opening of registration on April 1, 2021.**