2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Dead People and their Stuff: Introduction to Archaeology


Spring 2013 quarter

Ulrike Krotscheck classics, archaeology
Fields of Study
anthropology, art history, history and sociology
Preparatory for studies or careers in
humanities, social science, history, archaeology, and sociology.

This program examines the material remains of past civilizations, including architecture, art, mortuary remains, and written sources. Our investigation takes us, virtually, to every corner of the globe and to many different periods in history, from the Mediterranean to Easter Island, and from the Neolithic Middle East to Colonial America. Primarily, we explore how the remains of past civilizations provide archaeologists and historians with clues that unlock the secrets of ancient societies. Students will gain a broad understanding of global prehistory and history, the rise and fall of civilizations, and human impact on the environment throughout history. We will examine how humans lived (the development of urbanism), how they organized their societies (experiments in politics), what they ate (hunter-gatherer to agriculture), how they worshiped (religion and myth), how they treated others (warfare and sacrifice), and how they explained the inexplicables of human existence (such as the afterlife).

In addition, we will learn about the history of archaeological investigation and discuss archaeological methods and fieldwork techniques. These include different types of site formation processes (wet sites, dry sites, cold sites) as well as different excavation techniques, such as the differences between terrestrial and underwater archaeology. We will discuss how archaeologists and historians "date" the remains that they find using both "relative" and "absolute" dating techniques. Students will learn about the scientific methods used to find out detailed information about ancient peoples, such as what their diet was or how they dealt with injury and disease. Finally, we'll discuss the meaning of archaeology and the presentation of the past to different modern populations around the world. Students will have the opportunity to participate weekly in the work of a local archaeological lab and survey project.  We may also take an overnight field trip to the Makah Cultural Museum on the Olympic Peninsula, is schedule allows.  In addition, we will research archaeological sites around the globe using digital resources and we will learn to write site reports and draft archaeological artifacts and site plans. A research paper tailored to each student's specific interest will be the capstone of this program at the end of the quarter. This program assumes no prior knowledge of archaeology, and will be of interest to any student wishing to learn more about the ancient world, history, or who is interested in pursuing archaeological fieldwork in the future.

Online Learning
Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online
Greener Store
Required Fees
$100 for field trips.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
October 10th, 2012 New program added.