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Archaeology Advising


Students in Archaeology at Dickinson receive a solid grounding in methods and theory, learn important laboratory skills, and gain valuable field experience by participating in summer excavations. The Archaeology program boasts three fully equipped laboratories. The Keck archaeology laboratory includes a full scale training trench, a digital slide library, and several digital projects applying Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys and Geographical Information System (GIS) technology. The Dickinson Environmental Archaeological Laboratory (DEAL) includes microscopes with digital imaging capabilities as well as the facilities for analysis of archaeological plant remains and GIS. Students majoring in Archaeology are also introduced to paleoanthropology and the analysis of human skeletal materials in the Keck Biological Anthropology laboratory. All students complete an archeological field or lab experience requirement outside of the regular classes offered: opportunities for fieldwork with department faculty exist in the Mediterranean and South America, and outside programs for fieldwork, laboratory work, and museum experience are also available.


Potential majors and advisors of first-year students should note that the study of Archeology at Dickinson is strongly interdisciplinary. Students can earn credit toward the Archaeology major in courses in the programs of Anthropology, Art and Art History, Classical Studies, and Earth Sciences. Many students in Archeology also choose to pursue additional majors in these and other fields.

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

Students intending to major in Archaeology should take ARCH 110, Archeology and World Prehistory, in the first year (Fall or Spring semester), ANTH 100 Introduction to Biological Anthropology (Spring semester) and/or an Archaeology elective at the 100 or 200 level (examples listed below, offered Fall and Spring).

Students may explore their interest in Archaeology by selecting any of the 100 or 200 level courses, which may be taken as the "first course" in the field. Students should expect greater depth and analysis of topics through reading, writing, and discussion in the 200-level courses. 

ARCH 120, Greek Art and Archeology
ARCH 140, Egyptian Art and Archaeology
ARCH 150, Near Eastern Art and Archaeology
ARCH 210, Prehistoric Aegean Art and Archeology
ARCH 260, Environmental Archaeology
ARCH 262, South American Archaeology

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Archaeology. Additional course descriptions are available at Anthropology or Classical Studies

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

ARCH 120, Greek Art and Archaeology
ARCH 130, Roman Archaeology
ARCH 140, Egyptian Art and Archaeology
ARCH 210, Prehistoric Aegean Art and Archaeology

Social Sciences (Division II):
ARCH 110, Archaeology and World Prehistory
ARCH 260, Environmental Archaeology
ARCH 261, North American Archaeology
ARCH 262, South American Archaeology

Lab Science (Division III):
ANTH 100, Introduction to Biological Anthropology

Global Diversity:
ARCH 110, Archaeology and World Prehistory
ARCH 140, Egyptian Art and Archeology
ARCH 260, Environmental Archaeology
ARCH 262, South American Archeology

US Diversity
ARCH 261, North American Archaeology

ARCH 110, Archaeology and World Prehistory
ARCH 260, Environmental Archaeology
ARCH 261, North American Archaeology
ARCH 262, South American Archaeology

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The Archeology major is designed to introduce students to archeological methods and theories used by archeologists across the globe and to help students gain greater, more in-depth experience in one of two areas. Students who choose to pursue Area A of the major focus on the Mediterranean and Classical Archaeology. Students who choose to pursue Area B of the major focus on Anthropological Archaeology of the Americas and other world regions as well as Environmental Archaeology. Students are encouraged to explore both areas of study in coursework and in field experiences.

These guidelines suggest courses to take each year rather than specifying a required sequence. Students can tailor these guidelines to their circumstances in discussions with an Archaeology faculty member.

First Year
ANTH 100, Introduction to Biological Anthropology (usually offered in the Fall)
ARCH 110, Archaeology and World Prehistory (usually offered in the Spring)
Any 100- or 200- level electives in Areas A or B
GEOS 151, Foundations of Earth Science

Sophomore Year
ARCH 110, Archaeology and World Prehistory (if not taken in First Year)
ARCH electives within chosen Area A or Area B Concentration
ARCH 290: Archaeological Methods (Spring only)
ANTH 100, Introduction to Biological Anthropology or GEOS 151, Foundations of Earth Science 

Summer Field/Lab Experience

Junior Year
Study Abroad (one or two semesters) can fulfill electives for Area A or Area B, with departmental approval
ARCH electives within Area A or Area B
ARCH 300, Archaeological Theory and Interpretation (Fall only)

Senior Year
Complete ARCH electives within Area A or Area B
ARCH 300, Archaeological Theory and Interpretation (Fall only)
ARCH 390, Advanced Studies in Archaeology (Spring only)



Honors may be granted in Archaeology for a two-semester project that results in a well-researched, sophisticated, finely crafted thesis within the range of sixty to one hundred pages. Students are self-selected but acceptance as an Honors candidate is based on the judgment of the department faculty and their assessment of the student's academic ability and potential for successfully completing the project. They will work closely with one advisor but will receive guidance and resources from other members of the department. Only the best projects will be granted Honors, but any student who completes the project will receive credit for the two semesters of independent study.

Independent study and independent research

Independent studies are available. Any independent study must involve an interdisciplinary research topic in Archaeology. No more than two independent studies may be counted toward the major. Topic proposal and program of work must be approved by the instructor.

Independent research leading to Honors in the Major or student/faculty collaborative research may be undertaken with one of the contributing departments.

Co-curricular activities/programs

Archaeology Club
The Archaeology Club meets weekly to discuss topics in archaeology and to plan activities related to archaeology. Past activities have included campus events for International Archaeology Day (mock excvations and artifact analysis), flint knapping and atlatl experiments, cooking ancient recipes, ceramic workshops, movie nights, and visits to museum exhibits in nearby cities (Philadelphia, Washington DC, etc.)

Human Cultures House
The department helps to support a Special Interest House for Anthropology and Archaeology Majors. Students living in the house study together and bring classroom and campus discussions about human cultures to their living spaces. The house also hosts BBQs and events with students and faculty.

Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) Lectures
Dickinson College hosts one to two AIA lectures each year. The lectures are given by distinguished archaeologists working around the world on a variety of major topics in the field. In addition to attending the lectures, students often have an opportunity to meet the speaker during an information gathering at the campus café. Students learn about the guests' research and teaching and can ask questions about opportunities for research and education.

Opportunities for off-campus study

Field experience in archaeology is an important component of the Archaeology major/minor. We encourage participation in summer archaeological field schools, museum internships, and other hands-on research opportunities. The Field/Lab Requirement ensures that all Archaeology majors have an opportunity to experience archaeological field work, laboratory research, or museum work first-hand, domestically or abroad. This may come through field work/study abroad programs carried out by Dickinson faculty, or by approved opportunities through other institutions. Information about and approval of eligible field schools should be sought through the student’s advisor. 

Ancient & Modern Foreign Languages

At least two semesters of Latin or ancient Greek are required for those choosing the Classical Art and Archaeology area emphasis. Recommended modern foreign languages include any of the following: Spanish, German, French, Modern Greek, or Italian. Four semester courses of a recommended ancient or modern foreign language may be counted collectively as one (maximum allowed) of the four elective courses toward the Archaeology Major. 

Additional Remarks

Excavation opportunities:  Students will have excavation or laboratory opportunities in the summers through programs offered by Dickinson faculty. Students may also pursue non-Dickinson archaeological field schools, laboratory opportunities, and museum experiences after consulation and approval from the faculty.

Laboratory opportunities: Dickinson students have the opportunity to work on archaeobotanical materials from South America under the supervision of Professor Maria Bruno. Students are encouraged to take Envrionmental Archaeology as an introduction to the work, and can then discuss possibilities for volunteer or be a research assistant in the lab for further experience.