Concentration in Archaeology

The archaeology subfield of anthropology focuses on understanding societies and cultures through the study of their material remains. Students in anthropological archaeology develop skills that will allow them to study sites that were inhabited or modified by people in the past (including sites from relatively recent or modern times), together with a variety of materials recovered at such places, from microscopic residues and chemical traces to monumental buildings and entire landscapes. They learn to develop and apply theoretical approaches from the social sciences and comparative data from ethnographic and historical sources, coupled with a growing range of scientific methods of analysis derived from the natural and biological sciences. 

Requirements for archaeology-concentrating students include (1) one of the two introductory survey courses, (2) the foundational laboratory course, (3) an advanced laboratory course or data analysis course (see below), (4) a theory course, (5) a seminar, and (6) a senior essay (alternative formats for fulfilling this requirement can be discussed with the DUS). For electives, students can select among a wide range of courses focused on the archaeology of different regions and cultures around the world, and from courses in social anthropology, biological anthropology, and linguistics. 

In addition, students should gain field experience by joining a summer field school. Many archaeological field schools are offered around the world, and students are encouraged to apply to the Albers or Coe fellowships to defer the costs. In special cases, laboratory or museum activities may substitute for field work with the approval of the DUS.

A concentration in Archaeology is similar to but also different from a major in Archaeological Studies. The Anthropology major with concentration in Archaeology provides a strong background in anthropological theory, ethnography, and biological anthropology, in addition to archaeology. The Archaeological Studies major is an option for students who wish to pursue coursework in additional departments, such as Classics and Classical Civilizations, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and History of Art, among others. Alternatively, students can choose to double major in Anthropology and Archaeological Studies. 


Introductory Survey Courses:

ANTH 171 – Great Civilizations of the Ancient World

ANTH 172 – Great Hoaxes and Fantasies in Archaeology 

Foundational Lab Course:

ANTH 316L – Introduction to Archaeological Lab Sciences

Examples of Advanced Laboratory or Data Analysis Courses:

ANTH 336 – Geoarchaeology

ANTH 385 – Archaeological Ceramics

ANTH 450 – Analysis of Lithic Technology

ANTH 454 – Statistics for Archaeological Analysis

ANTH 464 – Human Osteology 

Other courses can also fulfill this requirement.

Examples of Theory Courses:

ANTH 301 – Foundations of Modern Archaeology

ANTH 353 – The Archaeology of Trade and Exchange

ANTH 372 – The Archaeology of Urbanism

ANTH 748 – Contemporary Archaeological Theory

Other courses can also fulfill this requirement.

Examples of Seminars 

ANTH 636 – Geoarchaeology: Earth and Environmental Sciences in Archaeological Investigations

ANTH 710 – Settlement Patterns and Landscape Archaeology

ANTH 714 – The Archaeology of Religion

ANTH 718 Archaeological Study of Craft Specialization

ANTH 743 – Archaeological Research Design

ANTH 769 – Landscapes of Meaning: Museums and Their Objects

ANTH 771 – Early Complex Societies

ANTH 772 – Cities in Antiquity: The Archaeology of Urbanism

ANTH 776 – GIS and Spatial Analysis for Archaeology

Other courses can also fulfill this requirement.

Examples of Area Focused Courses

ANTH 215 – The Archaeology of China

ANTH 233 – Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica

ANTH 255 – Inca Culture and Society

ANTH 264 – The Ancient Maya

ANTH 294 – Aztec Archaeology and Ethnohistory

ANTH 374 – Origins of Andean Civilization

ANTH 397 – Archaeology of East Asia

ANTH 417 – Maya Hieroglyphic Writing

ANTH 675 – The Green Hell and the Mother Serpent: Amazonian Archaeology, Ethnography, and Politics

ANTH 726 – Ancient Civilizations of the Eurasian Steppes

ANTH 755 – Inca Culture and Society

ANTH 758 – Chavin and the Origins of Peruvian Civilization