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Archaeology & Anthropology

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Undergraduate programs

Archaeological Studies

Undergrad major Undergrad minor

Archaeology is a discipline that studies the human past through the material remains that people left behind, such as artifacts, human burials or ancient ruins. Archaeologists gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be human and apply their knowledge to help solve problems of today.

Areas of study

Cultural Anthropology Emphasis

The cultural anthropology emphasis major is designed for students interested in learning more about cross-cultural international issues, and pursuing careers that address social problems at both local and global scales.

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Cultural Anthropology Catalogfor Cultural Anthropology


Undergrad minor

Anthropology is a social science that examines humans and the human experience — both past and present.It has four main subfields.

  • Cultural anthropology - the study of contemporary human cultures
  • Biological anthropology - the study of human evolution and how biology and culture interact to make us who we are
  • Linguistic anthropology - the study of human language
  • Archaeology - the study of the human past

These four sub-fields collectively explore the human condition and provide understanding of ourselves through a variety of different lenses. Ultimately, anthropology helps us understand who we are, where we came from, seeking cross-cultural understanding of all human groups today and in the past.

Featured courses

  • Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
    ANT 196 | 3 credits
    This course is an introduction to linguistic anthropology. Language is central to enculturation, whether it comes in the form of speech, writing, gesture, or style. We will start with a four-field perspective, examining the origins of human communication, early writing systems, cultural differences in language socialization, and how people use language now. From there, we will focus on the role language plays in people's social lives. Topics include gesture, literacy and global media, linguistic variation, language and identity, multilingualism, and language change and loss. Offered Annually.
  • Refugees, Displaced Persons and Transnational Communities
    ANT 215 | 3 credits
    This course explores the lives of refugees, displaced persons and the emergence of transnational communities. Emphasis is placed on the causes of refugee movements; policies and practices concerning the status and rights of refugees; and asylum and resettlement in other countries. A comparative approach is used to draw attention to how people cope with displacement and transnational migration and establish new roots in the country of resettlement. Offered Occasionally.
  • Peoples and Cultures of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
    ANT 312 | 3 credits
    This is a survey course that explores how people in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have experienced the transition from socialism to postsocialism and beyond. Within the framework of cultural anthropology, we will examine the major concerns of postsocialism - including how people understand the role of the government, what is means to be a citizen, and how they view themselves as members of communities - in order to gain a better understanding of how people experience, manage, and challenge the broad changes that have occurred in the political, economic, and social systems. More importantly, we will focus on how people have redefined what they value in life, what it means to be a "good" person, and what it means to be "postsocialist" in light of these changes. (Cross-listed with ANT/HIS; may only earn credit in one department.) Offered Occasionally.
  • International Development and Culture Change
    ANT 307 | 3 credits
    In an increasingly global world, what does it mean for cultures to change? What does it mean for cultures to stay the same? This course examines what "development" means to people in different cultures, and how the concept of development is itself a product of colonialism, the Cold War, and the current focus on what has been called the neoliberal global economy. The goals of the course are 1) to provide students with a comprehensive study of what economic, social, cultural, and political development has meant over time, and 2) to illustrate the benefits, limitations, and consequences of "progress" and "development" in the lives of people all over the globe. Course examples will come from topics such as conservation, sustainability, and the environment; the preservation of indigenous peoples' ways of life; tourism and its effects in a global world; gender and development; disaster response and reconstruction; and the roles of social movements, development aid, and non-governmental organizations in international development. Offered Occasionally.
  • Rites, Rituals and Ceremonies
    ANT 320 | 3 credits
    This course examines the roles of rituals in family, community and national life. It introduces students to a variety of ritual traditions and symbolic practices from around the world. In the process, students will learn about the different approaches to studying, analyzing and interpreting the significance of rituals. Offered Every Third Semester.
  • Peoples and Cultures of Southeast Asia
    ANT 351 | 3 credits
    Southeast Asia is a region of immense diversity with a long history of cultural mixing and blending. This class is a journey across this vast landscape to learn about the stories behind its ongoing histories, the dynamic influences on its changing cultures, and the vibrant lives of its peoples. Issues that matter to the everyday life of Southeast Asians are explored in relationship to national, regional and global trends. Offered Occasionally.
  • Anthropology of Food
    ANT 366 | 3 credits
    Cross-cultural practices and beliefs about the production, consumption, and distribution of food vary widely. This course examines food in a historical, social, and cultural context, focusing on the topics such as subsistence patterns and cultural patterns of food preparation and consumption; contemporary diets and the increasing prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease; cultural practices that restrict food intake or dictate food taboos; the globalization and "McDonaldization" of food; and others. The goal of the course is to provide students with theoretical and methodological tools to analyze food as a symbolic, political, and cultural artifact in today's world. Offered Annually.
  • Medical Anthropology
    ANT 370 | 3 credits
    Understandings of "health" and "illness" vary widely around the world. This course examines how an individual's interactions with the cultural and physical environment influence the experiences of health and illness. The class begins with an overview of the development of medical anthropology as a subfield, with attention to its relationship with other disciplinary approaches to questions of health, medicine, and disease. Course concepts are illustrated using international examples of health and illness, such as shamanism and shamanic healing; complementary and alternative medicine in the US; hospital birth versus midwifery; and the link between the individual and society in the healing process. The second part of the course focuses on biocultural perspectives on health, including the effects of prehistoric and historic life-ways and disease epidemics on the body. The third part of the class examines the politics of health, paying particular attention to the effects of race, ethnicity, gender, and class on health status and treatment. The final section of the course delves into the application of medical anthropology in the field of international development. Offered Occasionally.
  • Ethnographic Methods
    ANT 401 | 4 credits
    Ethnography is a central method in anthropology. This course provides students with the basics of ethnographic research through hands-on group activities with local community partners. Students read a variety of texts that describe and apply various approaches towards ethnographic research. Using a combination of lecture, discussion, and hands-on activities, the course covers all phases of ethnographic research as students gain skills in a variety of methods in preparation for their capstone thesis projects. Activities include human subjects training; developing research questions; participant observations, surveys, and interviewing; using qualitative data analysis software for processing and analyzing data; and presenting research findings to diverse audiences. In addition, this course includes examining how ethnographic skills can be useful for future career plans. The goal of this course is to teach students skills that can be applied to a variety of careers, as well as to future ethnographic research projects. Lect. 3, Lab 2. Prerequisite: ANT 101 or ANT 195 or ANT 202 or ANT 212. Offered Fall.
  • Museum Studies
    ARC 250 | 3 credits
    This introductory course provides a history of museums, their goals and methods, administration, curation and exhibit techniques. Participants will be taking field trips to museums. Offered Occasionally.
  • The Incas and their Ancestors: Archaeology of the Andes
    ARC 280 | 3 credits
    This course reviews the prehistory and early historic periods of the Andean regions of South America. Emphasis will be placed on tracing the rise of civilization in the Andes which culminated in the Inca Empire and the extraordinary events that led to the conquest of the Inca by the Spanish conquistadors. Topics to be explored include the controversial evidence of early man in South America, the role of the ocean and mountains in shaping pre-hispanic life, the origin of domesticated plants and animals, and the rise of the complex societies of Moche, Tiwanaku, Wari, Chimu, and of course, the Inca. Offered Occasionally.
  • Pyramids, Temples and Towns! The Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
    ARC 295 | 3 credits
    This course is a survey of the archaeology of Ancient Egyptian civilization from an anthropological perspective and examines the Neolithic through Roman periods, ca. 5000 BC - AD 285. In this course, we will investigate the rise and development of Egyptian culture by examining selected archaeological sites and the material remains left behind by the ancient Egyptians. Using these materials, we will address specific topics of Ancient Egyptian civilization including the formation of the centralized state, sacred vs secular space, royal and private mortuary practices, urbanism, religion, roles of women in society, everyday life, history of Egyptian archaeology, recent discoveries, and future directions in the archaeology of Egypt. (Cross-listed with ARC/HIS; may only earn credit in one department.) Offered Every Third Semester.
  • Archaeology Lab Methods
    ARC 303 | 3 credits
    Taking a hands-on approach to analyzing and interpreting archaeological remains, the class will integrate lectures with demonstrations, experiments, and supervised laboratory projects. Study will focus on the potential for interpreting human life ways and adaptations to the environment from stone tools, ceramics, floral, and faunal remains. Prerequisite: ARC 100 or ARC 196 or ANT 101. Offered Occasionally.
  • European Prehistory
    ARC 311 | 3 credits
    This course introduces students to the rich archaeological heritage of Europe from its initial colonization by our hominid ancestors to the end of the Iron Age. Topics to be explored include the evolution and dispersal of early hominids and modern humans, hunter-gatherer societies, the adoption of agriculture, the development of social complexity, and the rise of Europe's first civilizations. Offered Occasionally.
  • Human Skeletal Anatomy and the Anthropological Study of the Dead
    ARC 335 | 3 credits
    This course is designed for students majoring in archaeological studies or related fields. The focus of this course is a detailed study of the human skeleton. Each student will be required to learn the anatomy of the human skeleton in detail. Also considered are methods of determining an individual's age, ethnic origins, sex, and stature from skeletal remains. The final three weeks of the course will be concerned with anthropological interpretation of the dead. Offered Occasionally.
  • Zooarchaeology
    ARC 345 | 3 credits
    This course is an introduction to the subdiscipline of zooarchaeology. It is a hands-on, experiential learning class in which students will develop skills to analyze animal bones from archaeological contexts, including species and element identification, quantification methods, mortality profile construction, and pathology assessment. Students will apply these techniques to address broader archaeological issues, such as hunting and herding strategies, origins of animal domestication, seasonality assessment, environmental reconstruction, and social/ritual use of animals and their products. Offered Occasionally.