UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD-Summer: Austria: Methods in Archaeology: Forensic Aviation Archaeology (ANTH)

Vienna, Austria
Terms offered: 
Program Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 
Language of Instruction: 

SU 19 Austria
UMD Department of Anthropology is partnering with the Department of Defense to recover the remains of military personnel who are Missing in Action from World War II. The purpose of the program is to return these personnel to their families, decades after they were lost. This will be our third year in Europe, working at military aircraft crash sites. Students will learn archaeological and forensic techniques, and will develop a greater understanding of the United States' role in World War II.

The field school will focus on a crash site of a U.S. military aircraft and associated flight crew from the Second World War, in the country of Austria. Currently there are several identified crash sites in Austria, and we will be assigned to a site in eastern Austria.

The course consists of three modules.  The first module, conducted in College Park, includes lectures and orientations on the field work and protocols, history of the sites and period, and related contexts. The second module consists of the field work at the crash site. Field trips and related excursions offer secondary and relevant context to the history of the period and overall field school and represent the third module. The field excursions will include local archaeological sites, historic landmarks, museums, and a concentration camp from World War II. The course requires a careful documentation of the field work and other experiences, turned in at the end of the field school.

The field school offers the honor of recovering one or more of the 70,000+ men and women who went missing while serving their country during the Second World War. This work is a tremendous responsibility and a chance to offer answers to families, and to bring back their loved ones. Students will be able to see a real-world application of their work and directly experience its impact. In this manner, the field school epitomizes the applied anthropology focus of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park.

You will gain valuable, one-of-a-kind experience surveying and identifying an archaeological site, specifically an aircraft crash site. You will learn techniques of field excavation and forensic science, and the recovery of human remains. These skills and experience are cornerstones of the practice of forensic anthropology, archaeology, and applied anthropology. 

You will work and gain experience alongside experts in the academic field and the military. You will also have a chance to work with professionals from the host nation of Austria and experience the practice of archaeology and forensic science in another county. This collaboration and the integrative nature of the program are a reflection of the growing global cooperation and transdisciplinary environment in which programs are increasing taking part. Being involved in such a project will provide you with crucial knowledge and experience as they advance in their fields and seek out your own partnerships.

Please note: there is a week of required classes on-campus prior to departure for which students will need to budget housing/meal costs outside of the program fee.

You must be in good academic and judicial standing and you must not have any registration blocks to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is listed above.

UMD and non-UMD juniors, seniors, and graduate students are eligible to apply.  All majors are eligible, but students who have taken courses in basic archaeology and human osteology will be given preference. We are also seeking students who are interested in military history and World War II in particular.

Prerequisite courses: ANTH 429C/424 Human Skeletal Anatomy or equivalent, grade B or better AND ANTH 240 Introduction to Archaeology or equivalent, grade B or better. 

An interview is required as a part of the application process.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in one of the following six (6) credit UMD courses:

  • ANTH 496:  Forensic Aviation Archaeology
  • ANTH 696:  Forensic Aviation Archaeology (Graduate)

This program satisfies the Scholarship-in-Practice (DSSP) and Diversity Understanding Plural Societies (DVUP) Gen Ed requirements. The credit you earn during this program will count as resident credit.

Students will stay in shared accommodations in lodgings close to the field site.

Students are responsible for their accommodations while at College Park. Field school staff can assist non-local students. 

The costs listed are for Summer 2019.

Please note: there is a week of required classes on-campus prior to departure for which students will need to budget housing/meal costs outside of the program fee.

Application Fee $50
Billable Costs
Billable costs are charged to your student account. They are due based on the Office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering payment schedule. Be sure to check your statements when they are available.
Education Abroad Fee $500
This fee is charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted" to "Committed." This fee includes Education Abroad services including registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance $43
Tuition $847
This fee is charged to your UMD account upon course registration. This fee includes: Tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
Housing Fee $1,100
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $300
Visa $0
Passport $145
Roundtrip Airfare (estimate) $1,500
Course Materials $50
Optional Activities/incidental expenses $450
Optional trip cancelation/interruption Insurance (estimate) $180

NOTE: If you are a non-UMD graduate student, you will need to pay a $75 application fee to the UMD graduate school to participate in this program.

Please refer to the following resources for more information on funding study abroad

PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancelation due to low enrollment.

Marilyn R. London, Faculty Program Director, is a a forensic anthropologist who has been teaching at UMD for over 20 years. She earned her Master's degree in Biological Anthropology at the University of New Mexico and has served as a forensic anthropology consultant for medical examiners in New Mexico, Iowa, and Rhode Island. She has extensive experience in disaster response, including airplane crashes, terrorist attacks, and a prison riot.

Program Co-Director Adam Fracchia is an anthropologist and archaeologist who has taught courses and directed field schools at the University of Maryland since 2008.   He earned his Ph. D. in anthropology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014.  He has worked in archaeology for over sixteen years in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest as well as internationally.   He has excavated sites ranging from the Archaic period to the twentieth century, but his specialty includes historical archaeology.  He currently works as a Faculty Research Associate with the University of Maryland and teaches at the University of Delaware.  Dr. Fracchia also has a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics from Saint Louis University and a commercial pilot’s license.

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact the Program Director.
For general questions or assistance with applying, contact EA Short-term Programs.

As a part of this program, you will engage in the following activities:

  • One-of-a-kind experience surveying and excavating an archaeological site, specifically an aircraft crash site;
  • Play a role in recovering remains of MIA personnel so that the Department of Defense can return them to their families;
  • Learn international approaches to archaeology by working with colleagues in Europe.
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Summerterm 2019 03/17/2019 03/11/2019 06/02/2019 07/05/2019
The mandatory on-campus course component will take place from May 28th, 2019 through June 1st, 2019.