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Archaeology Pathway

Are you interested in exploring the human past through the things people left behind? Do you want to know how people organized their societies, constructed their buildings, created art, practiced rituals and spent their everyday lives? Maybe you wonder how the past has contributed to our present.


If so, DePauw’s Archaeology Pathway may be for you.

When you pursue the Archaeology Pathway

When you pursue the Archaeology Pathway, you’ll learn to combine the study of material culture – that is, tools, weapons, structures, religious images and other objects – with analytical and interpretive methods derived from anthropology, classical studies, art history, history and the sciences. Classes in this pathway focus on method and theory, as well as specific topics in archaeology. You’ll have the flexibility to focus on a particular period and location or to explore broad patterns in human social, political and cultural development.

DePauw boasts three professors of archaeology (one in anthropology and two in classical studies), which makes it one of few liberal arts colleges to offer a full range of courses. A background in archaeology complements majors or minors in multiple disciplines and can lead to a variety of career opportunities. If you’re interested in graduate work, your advisers in anthropology or classical studies will help you decide the best path for you. Recent graduates have pursued positions in museum studies, conservation, cultural resource management, geographic information systems and law as well as academic careers.

How does a DePauw education relate?

Students on the Archaeology Pathway are encouraged to use their knowledge of scientific methods, social science analysis and humanistic inquiry to find answers to critical questions about the past. You’ll gain experience in communicating research results by writing academic papers and making public presentations.

If you’re willing and eager to get your hands dirty – for real – you’ll have opportunities for field work, off-campus study and internships. You may participate in excavation projects in Italy, where DePauw teams are excavating a Roman villa, and in Indiana, with a project dedicated to documenting late 19th-century African-American migrants in Putnam County. Or you can study for a semester at a study-abroad program in Athens or Rome.

Connections with local museums provide internships for students interested in all aspects of curatorial work, including conservation, collections management, public education and marketing.

What DePauw courses could I explore?

  1. ANTH 151 - Human Cultures

    An introduction to the perspectives, methods, and ideas of cultural anthropology with a focus on human diversity and similarities through cross-cultural comparison.

  2. ANTH 153 - Human Origins

    An introduction to human evolutionary history focusing on a broad range of data including fossils, artifacts, DNA, and the behavior of living apes.

  3. CLST 161 - Introduction to Mediterranean Archaeology

    An introduction to theory and practice in Mediterranean archaeology including the basics of field methods, the role of ethics in archaeological research, and the relationship between classical antiquity and European intellectual traditions.

  4. ANTH 258 - Archaeology

    An introduction to archaeological analysis and interpretation from diverse data including artifacts, architecture, animal bones, preserved seeds and pollen, human bones and settlement spatial organization.

  5. GEOS 110 - Earth and the Environment

    An introduction to the materials that make up the earth and the processes that create geological formations.

  6. GEOS 205 - Introduction to GIS

    An introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) spatial analysis software tools and applications.

  7. GEOS 210 - Historical Geology

    An introduction to earth history and the methods that geologists use to interpret both the rock record and the fossil record.

  8. GEOS 310 - Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

    A detailed study of the formation, transportation, and deposition of sediments, including criteria for inferring the geologic history of sedimentary rocks.

  9. GEOS 315 - Map Interpretation

    A course focused on the analysis and interpretation of topographic maps, geologic maps, and geologic cross sections.

  10. GEOS 380 - Environmental Geophysics

    An exploration of geophysical approaches used by archaeologists, including ground-penetrating radar, magnetics, and electrical resistivity.

  11. CLST 262 - Egyptian, Aegean, and Near Eastern Art and Archaeology

    A survey of the art and archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean from the Paleolithic to the end of the Bronze Age. 

  12. CLST 263 - Greek, Persian, and Etruscan Art and Archaeology

    A survey of the art and archaeology of the Mediterranean from the early Iron Age to the death of Alexander the Great. CLST 264, Hellenistic and Roman Art and Archaeology: A survey of the art and archaeology of the Mediterranean from the rise of the Hellenistic kingdoms through the Roman Empire.

  13. ANTH 261 - Archaeology of the Body

    An introduction to the archaeological study of human bones, including mortuary ritual, the relationship between the living and the dead, prehistoric warfare, and skeletal markers of disease.

  14. CLST 310 - Topics in Mediterranean Archaeology

    A variety of courses taught on a rotating basis focusing on specific topics in Mediterranean archaeology; recent offerings include “Pompeii,” “The Archaeology of the Holy Lands,” “The Archaeology of Ancient Britain” and “Who Owns the Past?”

  15. MSST 110 - Contemporary Issues in Museum Studies

    An introduction to museums and their operations, including issues of power, privilege, and diversity in the museum context.

Trasimeno & External opportunities

The Trasimeno Regional Archaeological Project

A six-week field school in Umbria, Italy, that gives students practical experience in archaeological methods while they contribute to an ongoing research project. This program includes a museum component, field trips in central Italy, and community outreach/engagement. This project is directed by Rebecca Schindler and Pedar Foss of the Classical Studies Department.


External field opportunities

Our students have successfully pursued field opportunities in external programs, including the excavation of an early Pilgrim site on Cape Cod, the geophysical investigation of a Mississippian-era mound in Illinois, an underwater excavation on the Black Sea, and the laboratory analysis of ancient Nubian human remains dating from the Egyptian New Kingdom period. These experiences have in part been enabled by DePauw’s funding for student field experiences, including the Roland Naylor Award for Anthropological Archaeology, which provides funding for a hands-on summer experience in archaeology, and the Mercury Fund in Classical Studies, which supports student travel for research.

How have alumni engaged in careers in this area?

  • Caleb O’Brien ’20, M.A. student in underwater archaeology at East Carolina University
  • Tyler Donaldson ’16, archaeologist, Cardno, a global environmental and cultural resource management firm.
  • Ashley Ramsey-Hannum ’11, curator of anthropology at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
  • Steve Karacic ‘07, Archaeologist, Prehistory of the Ancient Near East, Research Associate at Florida State University.
  • Jessica Brandt ’04, grants coordinator, United Nations Population Fund, Amman, Jordan.
  • Katherine Glover ’01, research associate, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine.
  • Jane Buikstra ’67, bioarchaeologist, Regents professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and founding director of the Center for Bioarchaeological Research, Arizona State University. A member of the National Academy of Sciences.

What other offices and programs might I connect to?

  • Departments and programs:
    • Sociology and Anthropology
    • Classical Studies
    • Art History
    • Geoscience
    • Museum Studies
  • Centers and projects:
    • GIS Center
    • Tenzer Technology Center (for 3D modeling and visualization) 
    • Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics (ethics in archaeology)
    • Kathryn F. Hubbard Center for Student Engagement (for field practica, internships, winter term, and semester off-campus study)
    • Trasimeno Regional Archaeology Project (co-sponsored by DePauw and the Umbra Institute)

Who else can tell me more and answer my questions?

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