Digging Up Diseases

Spring 2017 quarter

Taught by

classics, archaeology
  • UG

"King Tut Mysteries Solved: Was Disabled, Malarial, and Inbred!" - reads a recent National Geographic headline ( Source)

Sensationalizing as this headline is, the studies it is based on are grounded in real science and social science. In this program, we will introduce students to these sciences. This program will offer students an introduction to the biological sciences, archaeology, and the study of diseases, contemporary as well as ancient. Through lectures and workshops students will gain an understanding of pathology and epidemiology. In addition, they will learn the history, methods, and theories of archaeological practice through case studies, texts, and archaeological reports. General science concepts in designing experiments, analyzing and interpreting data will be interwoven by applying biostatistics. Class materials will also include considerations of research ethics in both fields. Weekly seminar readings will deepen the understanding of specific case studies. In labs, students will learn archaeological and biological skills, specifically techniques in microbiology and artifact identification and preservation. Prior experience in biology or archaeology are not required.

Students will write weekly seminar papers and complete assignments that will evaluate student comprehension and retention of the material and the readings. Students will participate in one field trip to the Squaxin Island center and a local archaeological site. At the end of the quarter, students will present an individual or group project on a specific archaeological site that has relevance to the class material and themes.

Program Details

Fields of Study

anthropology biology history

Preparatory For

biology, archaeology, epidemiology, anthropology, biostatistics, history, and science.


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, April 3 at 9:30am (Sem II E3105)

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$10 for museum entrance fees.