UMD: A Globally Connected University

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

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

The Forensic Aviation Archaeology: Recovery of a World War II Aircraft Crash Site program is an archaeological field school to survey and investigate previously located aircraft crash sites from the Second World War. The mission is to identify and recover the wreckage of the aircraft and the human remains of the missing-in-action (MIA) flight crew member(s) of this aircraft. The Department of Defense (DOD) is tasked by the U.S. Congress through the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to provide the fullest possible accounting of missing personnel to their families and the nation. The DPAA recognizes the valuable experience and training that can be gained in these recovery missions and has requested a strategic partnership with the University of Maryland, College Park to carry out a part of their mission.

The University of Vienna will be working with us under a general Memorandum of Understanding executed in 2015 and effective through June of 2020. One of the program faculty members will come from the University of Vienna, and students from that University will be able to participate in the recovery through a similar field school arrangement at their home school.

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 ten identified crash sites in Austria. We will be excavating up to two crash sites near the city of Linz, west of Vienna.

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 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 presentation of the student's findings and experience in a seminar or conference setting in the fall of 2018.

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 the techniques of field excavation and forensic science, and the identification and 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 their peers 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.

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 preference will be given to anthropology, history, forensic science, and public health majors. 

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 2018.

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 $74
Tuition $601
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 $750
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $300
Visa $0
Passport $140
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.

Program Director Marilyn R. London is a forensic anthropologist who has been teaching at the University of Maryland for 20 years. She earned her Master of Arts in Biological Anthropology at the University of New Mexico after receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the George Washington University. Her specialty is the human skeleton, and she has served as a forensic anthropology consultant for medical examiners in New Mexico, Iowa, and Rhode Island. Ms. London has worked on a variety of field projects, analyzing human skeletal remains from prehistoric sites and historic cemeteries in New Mexico, Maryland, and New York City. She also contracted with the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian for 20 years, primarily analyzing and documenting human skeletal remains. She has responded to several mass disasters, including airplane crashes, a prison riot, and a terrorist attack. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

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:

  • Contribute to a decades-long mission to locate, recover, identify, and return the remains of Missing-in-Action (MIA) military personnel from 20th century wars, specifically World War II in the 2017 season.
  • Have the opportunity to receive instruction from and interact with industry, military, and academic leading experts in the field of archaeology, forensic science, and aircraft crash investigation. 
  • Have a chance to work with their international peers on a collaborative project in their host country. 
  • Participate in field visits and field trips to related historical and archaeological sites in Austria.
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Summerterm 2018 03/15/2018 03/11/2018 06/03/2018 07/06/2018
The mandatory on-campus course component will take place from May 29th, 2018 through June 2nd, 2018.