A Wide-Ranging Program
We are proud to be one of the few institutions in the entire country to offer you a separate major in Archaeology. In our program we seek to integrate a wide range of directions: from paleoanthropology to historic and industrial archaeology from classical archaeology to specialties such as paleoethnobotany and archaeozoology
Breadth of Staff
We emphasize an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary approach that can be tailored to your needs. You will be exposed to the widest possible range of opportunities by working with specialists from several different departments including Anthropology, Art History, Earth & Planetary Sciences and Classics.
Research and Field Work Opportunities
There are several ways for you to become directly involved in research and field work while you are here: the major requires at least one "hands-on" season of field work our professors routinely include research opportunities for undergraduate students in their ongoing laboratory projects or field expeditions professors encourage well-designed student projects run as independent studies, should you have a special interest not included in the research currently in progress a number of contract archaeology firms in the St. Louis area recruit our students for projects and provide opportunities for summer employment
Access to Specialized Laboratories
This laboratory houses extensive comparative collections you can employ when identifying plants utilized by humans in prehistoric periods and when conducting modern "action archaeology" or ethno-archaeology.
You can use the facilities of the zooarchaeology laboratory to work on identifying animals from both prehistoric and historic archaeological sites. The laboratory's particular strengths are in fauna specimens from the Americas, Africa, and Europe.
Lithic and Ceramic Analysis Laboratory
This lab almost always has several ongoing undergraduate projects. The studies here usually focus on material evidences of lifesways (how people lived), the basis for beginning to understand cultural history reconstructions. Comparative materials are borrowed form museum collections in the region. Summer Excavations and Internships The department offers many opportunities to experience the field of archaeology, in the St. Louis area, as well as abroad. See our Internships and Opportunities link for more information.
Study Abroad Opportunities
You will have the opportunity to study abroad, spending a semester or year away. As an archaeology major, we will help you select a school abroad where one or more of the professors is engaged in a field excavation project in which you are interested. If the actual excavation takes place in the summer, you would work with your foreign instructor for a semester or year before taking part in the excavation. This has proven to be an excellent way for students to develop a research project for their senior honors thesis and writing capstone. For important policy guidelines concerning study abroad, please see out Study Abroad Policy link.
Washington University Approved Opportunities
University College of London & Institute of Archaeology In 1985, a one-to-one agreement was signed between the faculty from the Department of Anthropology, and the Institute of Archaeology, of the University College-London and the associated faculty at Washington University. Each year, UCL will accept the nominations of up to five Washington University undergraduates in our program for either a semester or a year course-exchange. All academic work done by Washington University students under the auspices of UCL will be accepted as the equivalent of credit earned in St. Louis. This agreement is in addition to, or outside of, the general Semester Abroad agreements that Washington University has with many universities. Our UCL program is particularly advantageous for students interested in European and Old World archaeological studies. Applications for the UCL program should be secured from Dr. Robert Sussman, department of Anthropology, Campus Box 1114, or extension 5-5264. The College office for Study Abroad must be informed. Their form, which requires possible equivalencies of courses from UCL and those at W.U., should be taken to Dr. David Browman, Old McMillan 118, Campus Box 1114, extension 5-5231, for evaluation and signature.
College Year in Athens & Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome
Archaeology majors with a particular interest in classical archaeology and in the ancient Mediterranean will want to investigate two attractive semester or year-abroad programs. The program College Year in Athens offers a full range of courses on ancient Greece, including the ancient languages, and several offerings in archaeological studies. You can attend this program for a single semester, or for the full year.
The Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome
Often know only as "The Centro," offers a single semester-long program (either fall or spring) whose core is the study of the ancient history and monuments of Rome. For further information, and permission forms, contact Prof. Susan Rotroff (ext. 5183) or Prof. Robert Lamberton (ext. 5-8587) in the Department of Classics. For any additional information, see the Study Abroad Policy link, or contact Dr. David Browman, in his office in Old McMillian 118, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 935-5231.
Completing Your Archaeology Experience
Every student should, at the end of four years, have a sense of closure, of attaining a goal or a step on the way to future activities, an experience that wraps up and encompasses the major - the 'capstone' experience of the scholastic endeavor. The major in the Interdisciplinary Program in Archaeology requires a Senior Project experience for all primary majors. This may be accomplished in a number of ways.
Some majors may fulfill this requirement through being invited to participate in the departmental Senior Honors Program, which includes writing a Senior Honors thesis. The Senior Honors thesis is subject to an oral defense, and must be accepted by a three-member faculty committee, specific to the student's humanistic or social scientific focus, which evaluates the content and suitability of each thesis.
Recommendations from the examining committee are reviewed at the departmental level, before being forwarded to the Arts and Sciences division committee, for their evaluation and action. (For additional information, see separate section on Senior Honors Thesis timelines and requirements.) For primary majors not involved in the Honors Program, a structured research assignment, internship, fieldwork, or independent project under the supervision of one of the department's faculty will be required.
The Senior Project may be coordinated with an appropriate upper level Archaeology, Anthropology, Art History, Classics or Philosophy class, or may be conducted as an independent study class under the guidance of an Archaeology faculty member. The Senior Project experience is designed to educate students on issues such as how to select an appropriate research question, various means regarding the processes of data reduction and modeling, evaluation of hypotheses, as well as a final set of exposures to the style of argumentation and technical writing appropriate for the humanistic or social scientific focus. The Senior Project requirement relates only to primary majors -- students who are taking two majors, and who have Senior Project required in the other major, may petition to be excused from duplicating this experience in Archaeology. Those students enrolled in Archaeology as their first or primary major will satisfy this requirement either through enrolling in Senior Honors, or by enrolling in the Senior Project Course offered through the Archaeology Department.
Archaeology as a Field
Archaeology is the study of the origin, development, and evolution of human culture, as exhibited in the material record-evidence of "fossilized" cultural behavior as recovered from lost tools, collapsed and abandoned living structures, accidentally preserved food remains, caches of sacred items, cave paintings, and the like. The focus of archaeology ranges from reconstructing the rudimentary institutions of the individuals responsible for making the very first stone tools (some 2.5 million years ago), through rather complex constructs of industrial archaeology in the current century. Some archaeologists focus upon particular topics or processes, such as the origins of animal domestication or the development of writing. Other archaeologists may study particular or civilizations, and hence may study particular regions or civilizations, and hence may be Egyptologists, Mayanists, First American specialists, or Greco-Roman experts.