Mihrab of the Great Mosque, Songo Mnara



Click here to read an article about the 2009 Field School!


Students will can earn up to six Rice University credits for participating in the research at Songo Mnara during the summer:

During the summer, students will enroll in Anth 364: African Archaeology Field Techniques. This course offers field instruction in methods used in archaeology generally and East African coastal archaeology in particular. It emphasizes practical instruction in excavation and data collection techniques, as well as recording methods, including drawing and site photography.

Upon returning to Rice, students can enroll in Anth 370 (Archaeological Laboratory) in which they will work with archaeological materials collected during the field research season.


There are no specific pre-requisites for admission to the field school. However, there is a general requirement that participants have prior course work in EITHER African history or archaeology. A student without any background in archaeology will be required to do extra preparatory reading.

GPA must be 3.0 or better.

Excavation involves fairly vigorous physical labor: digging, scraping, lifting, climbing. Students must be physically able to undertake all these activities. No language preparation is required, although Swahili language skills are useful.


The cost of the field school is $4,000 for program fees which include room, board, and local program-related travel between Dar es Salaam and Songo Mnara. Also included are an orientation program in Dar es Salaam and trips to archaeological sites in the Kilwa region, including Kilwa Kisiwani. There may be scholarships available to assist with this fee--please contact Dr. Fleisher.

These program costs DO NOT include transportation to and from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Tanzanian Visas, International health insurance (required), vacation travel, and personal expenses.

Refund policy:

» If the student withdraws before May 15th, but after assumption of expenses such as air tickets, housing deposits, etc, the student pays actual costs incurred.

» Withdrawal after May 15th but before June start date: actual costs plus 50% of program fees

» Withdrawal after July start date: no refund.


You are responsible for arranging your flights to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (airport code 'DAR'). Coming from the United States, the best prices on flights to Dar es Salaam usually require a transfer in Europe, normally London,The harbour at Kilwa Masoko Amsterdam, Frankfurt, or Istanbul—there are no direct flights from the United States to Tanzania. Many major airlines fly to Tanzania, including (but not limited to): British Airways, KLM/Northwest, Turkish Airways, and Swiss Air.


A visa is required for all United States passport holders traveling to Tanzania. Currently, the fee for a tourist visa (which is what you will need) is $100, which provides multiple entries into Tanzania for up to one year. You can apply for a Visa from the Tanzanian Embassy prior to the Field School or apply in person at the airport in Dar es Salaam. We strongly encourage you to apply for your Visa before departure. For information on applying for a Ordinary/Tourist Visa, please see the Tanzanian Embassy website for information and application form.


The Field School will run from July 3rd to August 6th.

The first week includes an orientation in at the University of Dar es Salaam, with introductory lectures by faculty there, a tour of the National Museum of Tanzania and an artifact overview with museum collections. During this week we will travel to Kilwa Masoko, where you will have instruction in some basic Swahili.

Weeks 2 through 5 will involve archaeological research at the site, including:

  • » Total Station survey, mapping architecture, site boundaries, topography
  • » Geophysical/remote sensing surveys
  • » Shovel-test excavations/survey
  • » Excavations in houses and yards
  • » Laboratory research: artifact processing and identification; ceramic analysis

In general, field work will run from Sunday through Friday, with Saturdays off. On days off, we will plan field trips to other archaeological sites in the area, like Kilwa Kisiwani and Sanje ya Kati, or simply spend the day in Kilwa Masoko.

The Necropolis mosque


Please contact Dr Jeffrey Fleisher, Anthropology (jfleisherATriceDOTedu) for further information or to discuss any aspect of the field school.

You can also download an application form below. All applicants to the field school must have submitted this form, and the supporting documentation by the closing date of March 11, 2016.

Download PDF version of application form (opens in a new window).