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Through archaeological research, anthropology gives us a unique view of human history, much longer and richer than possible from the study of written documents alone. Such research has shed light on lifeways and cultures from the origins of our species to the recent past — a span of more than two million years. Archaeological discoveries not only have scientific value, but also generate tremendous public interest, and can serve as key components in promoting “heritage tourism” and an appreciation for cultural heritage in North Carolina and other parts of the world. The Archaeology Program will provide training for students interested in this long view of human history. For undergraduates, it culminates in a liberal arts degree that prepares students for graduate training in archaeology, or for a career in any field that requires skills in analytical thinking, writing, and teamwork. For graduate students, it provides doctoral training that leads to jobs in universities, museums, and cultural resource management.


We currently have 39 undergraduate and six graduate Anthropology courses that have largely archaeological content (see Appendix 1). These include First Year Seminars, broad introductions, lab methods, field schools, area courses and thematic or topical courses. We expect to add or drop some courses as faculty are hired, retire or shift interests, but we believe the current set provide a solid mix of the theory, method and application for training our students. The lab courses provide hands-on training in analysis of the varied materials that are our primary sources of evidence, while the field schools provide structured experiential education that is an indispensable part of training for archaeologists. It is worth noting that our graduate offerings seem a bit thin, but we make a practice of offering topical seminars that are selected to fit the needs of current students as well as reflect faculty interests. It goes without saying that courses offered by other concentrations enrich and augment the courses with explicit archaeological content.

Foundation Graduate Courses

The department already offers three courses which together form the foundation for our graduate training in archaeology:

  • ANTH 705, Archaeological Theory;
  • ANTH 726, Quantitative Methods in Archaeology; and
  • ANTH 729, Research Strategies in Archaeology.

Working Groups

The archaeologists currently in residence (see Appendix 2) could participate in many working groups that are not solely restricted to the Program, such as those in engaged anthropology and cultural heritage. Other strengths in the Program which might generate working groups — and would likely attract faculty from outside of archaeology — are food, political economy, religion, and material culture (in many forms).

Public Programs

Faculty engagement, heritage preservation, and community archaeology are strengths of the Program. In terms of local engagement, the RLA organizes and hosts a number of public programs each year, and has a half-time Public Outreach Coordinator (always an Anthropology graduate student) who organizes these activities. A typical year might include public events (“Archaeology Day” in the fall and the “UNC Science Expo” in the spring), online teacher workshops, archaeology tours of campus for the general public, as well as K-12 classroom visits. The Anthropology Department’s archaeology program could partner with these efforts and build on them. The archaeology program could also partner with the RLA and the Curriculum in Archaeology to sponsor talks aimed at both academic and public audiences.

In addition to these local efforts, it is important to note that archaeology faculty have a very strong track record in leading community-based projects elsewhere in the U.S. and in Latin America.

The Research Laboratories of Archaeology (RLA), which provides much of the infrastructure for the archaeologists in the Anthropology Department, already has an established track record for raising private funds in support of archaeology. Any development initiatives in archaeology that the Anthropology Department pursues should be closely coordinated with the RLA.

Anthropology Courses with Archaeological Content

First-Year Seminars

  • ANTH 050        FYS: Skeletons in the Closet
  • ANTH 054        FYS: The Indians’ New Worlds: Southeastern Histories from 1200 to 1800
  • ANTH 060        FYS: Crisis and Resilience: The Past and Future of Human Societies
  • ANTH 064        FYS: Public Archaeology in Bronzeville
  • ANTH 065        FYS: Humans and Animals

Introductory Courses

  • ANTH 121        Ancient Cities of the Americas
  • ANTH 123        Habitat and Humanity
  • ANTH 145        Introduction to World Prehistory
  • ANTH 148        Human Origins
  • ANTH 222        Prehistoric Art

Area Courses

  • ANTH 231        Archaeology of South America
  • ANTH 232        Ancestral Maya Civilizations
  • ANTH 233        Prehistory of Southwest Asia
  • ANTH 250        Archaeology of North America
  • ANTH 550        Archaeology of the American South

Method and Theory Courses

  • ANTH 220        Principles of Archaeology
  • ANTH 420        Public Archaeology
  • ANTH 674        Issues in Cultural Heritage
  • ANTH 291        Archaeological Theory and Practice

Laboratory Courses

  • ANTH 411        Laboratory Methods in Archaeology
  • ANTH 413        Archaeobotany Lab Methods
  • ANTH 414        Laboratory Methods: Human Osteology
  • ANTH 415        Laboratory Methods: Zooarchaeology
  • ANTH 416        Bioarchaeology
  • ANTH 417        Laboratory Methods: Lithic Seminar
  • ANTH 418        Laboratory Methods: Ceramic Analysis
  • ANTH 421        Archaeological Geology

Field Schools

  • ANTH 451        Field School in North American Archaeology
  • ANTH 453        Field School in South American Archaeology

Thematic Courses

  • ANTH 252        Archaeology of Food
  • ANTH 412        Paleoanthropology
  • ANTH 423        Written in Bone: CSI and the Science of Death Investigation
  • ANTH 438        Disease and Discrimination
  • ANTH 454        Archaeology of African Diasporas
  • ANTH 456        Archaeology and Ethnography of Small-Scale Societies
  • ANTH 458        Archaeology of Sex and Gender
  • ANTH 468        State Formation
  • ANTH 551        Origins of Agriculture
  • ANTH 650        Reconstructing Life: Nutrition and Disease in Past Populations

Graduate Courses

  • ANTH 705        Archaeological Theory
  • ANTH 726        Quantitative Methods in Archaeology
  • ANTH 727        Archaeology of North America
  • ANTH 728        Seminar in American Archaeology
  • ANTH 729        Research Strategies in Archaeology
  • ANTH 766       Seminar in Ethnobotany