Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

Several people stand facing a wall, some scraping at it with tools and one standing on a scaffolding. Flowering bushes appear in the foreground of the image.
Figure 2.1 These archaeologists are working to uncover a fresco on a building in Pompeii, Italy. Pompeii was famously covered in ash when nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. The ash has preserved many structures and artifacts from the time. (credit: “Pompeii Restoration Work” by Justin Ennis/flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Fieldwork is one of the most important practices of anthropology. While all of the subfields of anthropology conduct fieldwork in some form to gather information, each subfield may use different methods of conducting research. The concept of working in “the field” was traditionally based on the practice of traveling to distant regions to study other cultures within their native environmental contexts. In recent decades, “the field” has broadened to include diverse settings such as one’s hometown (as in urban anthropology), the Internet (visual or virtual anthropology), or collections in university archives and museums (ethnohistory or museum anthropology).

Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Dec 20, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.