ANSC 301: Principles of Archaeology
Prerequisites: ANSC 101 or permission of instructor
Credit Hours: (4) Three hours lecture; two hours laboratory
This course considers the methods and theories that archaeologists use to interpret past life-ways of prehistoric and historic human cultures. Case studies of past cultures are also discussed to provide current information on these cultures and to serve as examples of archaeological research. The lab component will focus on giving students hands-on experience in basic field and laboratory methods in archaeology.
Note(s): Students cannot receive credit for both ANTH 122 and ANSC 301.
Detailed Description of Content of Course
The major areas of archaeology covered in this course include the following:
a. the history and development of archaeological theories and methods
b. archaeological ethics and cultural resource management
c. archaeological dating techniques--stratigraphy, typology, absolute dating
d. analysis of material culture (artifacts), subsistence, and settlement patterns
e. modeling past lifeways
f. case studies in prehistoric archaeology that illustrate key principles of archaeology
The laboratory component of the course will provide training and experience in the following areas:
a. basic stratigraphic analysis
b. basic field techniques, including:
i. appropriate excavation strategies
ii. use of detailed forms and documentation
iii. simple mapping and survey techniques.
c. basic description and analysis of artifacts using teaching collections.
d. data coding for computer information systems.
e. basic data analysis using case study exercises comprised of real archaeological data
Detailed Description of Conduct of Course
The course is taught through the use of slide-illustrated lectures, films, and hands-on experience, using information from texts as well as the instructor's own research experience. Numerous case studies of actual archaeological excavations and research projects are discussed in order to illustrate the application of archaeological method and theory to specific research problems. Whenever possible, students will participate in actual archaeology projects being supervised by the RU faculty in the local region.
The laboratory component of the class will be conducted in a variety of ways throughout the semester. Some laboratory sessions will focus on students working together through written exercises on different topics, including stratigraphic analysis and interpretation of case study data. However, the majority of lab sessions will be devoted to hands-on training in basic field and laboratory techniques.
Goals and Objectives of the Course
Student successfully completing ANSC 301 will:
a. demonstrate an understanding of the wide range of methods and theories used in modern archaeology.
b. be able to perform basic archaeological field skills sufficient to make them productive members of an actual archaeological project.
c. be able to perform a variety of laboratory analytical techniques, including basic ceramic and lithic analysis.
d. be familiar with a variety of archaeological case studies that demonstrate the utility of many of the methods and theories used in class.
e. will gain a greater awareness of, and appreciation for, past cultures.
f. will be familiar with the legal and ethical standards of modern archaeology
Students will be evaluated through in-class examinations with both objective and written sections and at least one paper, to be written outside of class.
Lab activities will account for at least 25% of students' grades in ANSC 301. Because the function of the lab is learning through hands-on experience, attendance and active participation will be included in assessment. Lab exercises and activities will be completed and graded each week, ensuring that students are progressing.
Other Course Information
Review and Approval