Jennifer A Huff
Techniques, methods, and goals of archaeological research. Excavation and dating of archaeological materials. General problems encountered in explaining archaeological phenomena.
Archaeology, a foundational sub-discipline of American anthropology, is the study of the past human culture through the recovery and analysis of material remains. This course will briefly cover the development of archaeology as a discipline and then delve into the methods and theories that archaeologists use today through lecture, reading, and hands-on lab activities. Some exciting new archaeological discoveries include the recently recovered DNA of a previously unknown archaic human in Siberia 40,000 years ago, the skeleton of a tiny species of hominins on an isolated island in Indonesia, human DNA from a cave in Oregon dating to nearly 15,000 years ago, evidence that ancient Polynesians reached South America long before Spanish explorers, and artifacts suggesting cheese-making in northern Europe 7,000 years ago. By the end of this class, students will be able understand the chains of evidence used to build credible claims about the past, to evaluate the conclusions drawn from archaeological research, and to think critically about the portrayal of archaeological research in the popular media. Students will also be aware of the ethical and legal issues surrounding archaeological discoveries and the relevance of these issues to the modern world and our future as humans.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This is a hybrid course of in-person lecture, on-line activities, and hands-on lab work.
Class assignments and grading