Adventures in Archaeology
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This class will introduce students to the science, methods, and theories of archaeology, both globally and locally. For the global component, we will examine the material remains of past civilizations, including architecture, artifacts, mortuary remains, and written sources. Our investigation takes us, virtually, to every corner of the globe and to many different periods in history, from the Mediterranean to Easter Island, and from the Neolithic Middle East to Colonial America. Primarily, we explore how the remains of past civilizations provide archaeologists and historians with clues that unlock the secrets of ancient societies. Students will gain a broad understanding of global prehistory and history, the rise and fall of civilizations, and human impact on the environment throughout history. We will examine how humans lived (the development of urbanism), how they organized their societies (experiments in politics), what they ate (hunter-gatherer to agriculture), how they worshiped (religion and myth), how they treated others (warfare and sacrifice), and how they explained the inexplicables of human existence (such as the afterlife). This class will also consider the history of the discipline and the ethics of archaeological inquiry.
The local component of this offering includes work with local archaeologists, archaeological sites, and museums. There will be multiple field trips, including going to the Burke Museum and the Squaxin Museum, where we will explore the region's archaeological treasures. We will also visit archaeological sites such as the Mud Bay site near Evergreen, and other sites (if feasible). Students will meet archaeologists who work for universities, museums, state agencies, and independently, where they will be introduced to the variety of careers archaeologists occupy. A research presentation tailored to students' specific interests will be the capstone of this class. This class assumes no prior knowledge of archaeology, and will be of interest to any student wishing to learn more about the ancient world, history, or who is interested in pursuing archaeological fieldwork in the future. Variable credit options for this offering are possible, and should be discussed with the instructor.
Class Size: 25
Scheduled for: Day
Located in: Olympia
Spring 2020: Contact faculty or check offering in Canvas for first class meeting date and time.