ARC 320: Historical Archaeology

Mount Pleasant Site Excavations

The focus of this course is historical archaeology.  This discipline involves an archaeological evaluation of material remains from the historic past.  Therefore, historical archaeologists can apply historical knowledge to the interpretation of archaeological remains.  In the New World, historical archaeologists work on a broad range of sites that document early European settlement and its effects on Native American peoples, wars fought on American soil, the subsequent spread of the Euro-American frontier, and the process of urbanization and industrialization.  Historical archaeologists seek to understand the past from an anthropological perspective and appreciate how broad historical developments have shaped modern society.  In this class we will explore some of these aspects of historical archaeology in the New World and abroad.

Civil War Federal Artifacts from Kearneysville Battlefield

While different regions of the world will be addressed, the course will focus on the United States.  Some of the general topics covered in class will include: an introduction to and history of historical archaeology; methodology, theory and interpretation in historical archaeology.  Some of the more specific topics will include: Interpretation at Colonial Williamsburg; The 'Meaning' of America's Battlefields; Archaeology of Early African America; Archaeology of Colonialism; Archaeology of Industrialism; and Feminist Archaeology.

This course is offered every third semester.