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Archaeology is a subdiscipline of anthropology and at the same time it is multidisciplinary in nature. It supplies data and interpretations of changes in human behavior and culture over the long-term. It provides information on the daily lifeways of humans including their interactions and impacts on their environments with implications for the future.
To investigate and interpret the archaeological record, our classroom, laboratory and field courses are designed to provide a variety of theoretical, methodological and practical approaches to the study of such topics as the paleoecology of hunter-gatherers, the origins of agriculture, the political economy of ancient states and life in colonial America.
Archaeological research has become increasingly specialized; topical courses which explore methods with broad applications offered within the department include survey and excavation techniques, lithic analysis, ceramic analysis, soils and geomorphology, human ecology, human osteology, use of historic archives and the basics of documentary research, cultural resource management, computer applications, statistics and proposal writing. Courses in other departments provide the necessary background in geology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Active field programs focus on three broad areas: the prehistory of tropical America (emphasis on Central and South America), the prehistory of Eastern Woodlands (emphasis on the Middle Atlantic), and the historic period in the Middle Atlantic.
The department maintains extensive laboratory facilities for the processing, analysis and storage of paleoecological and artifactual collections. Existing collections from Central America, the Eastern Woodlands and the historic Philadelphia region provide students with the opportunity to become involved in research projects of their own design.
Archaeological Research: Eastern Woodlands (PPT), Central America, Historic Philadelphia
Laboratories: Main Anthropology Lab (PPT)