Time Past: Earth Processes and Human History

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Spring 2019 quarter

Taught by

classics, archaeology

Our understanding of the ancient past is based on physical evidence that has survived the destruction of time. Archaeologists and geologists strive to reconstruct the past with an incomplete record of artifacts and evidence from the rock record. Theories are developed, refined, or discarded as new evidence comes to light or analytical tools enable new information to be gleaned. Reinterpretation is an ongoing process and paradigm shifts are common.

This program will introduce students to the fundamentals and current theories of archaeology and geology, focusing on the deductive process that these disciplines employ and the interpretation of the evidence of past events. Geologic processes, particularly catastrophic events, have allowed the preservation of artifacts from past cultures, and past cultures have, in some cases, had a profound impact on the earth. Time will be a critical dimension in this program: hundreds, thousands, millions, and even billions of years ago.

Students will learn the methods and practices of archaeology, focusing on the history of the Pacific Northwest region. Data collection and analysis using quantitative methods will be integrated with the theory and Excel will be used for analyzing and displaying data. Seminar readings will focus on topics relevant to the program, and regular assessment of learning will take place through quizzes and seminar papers. Field trips will provide opportunities to observe geologic features and artifacts, including a multi-day field trip around the Olympic Peninsula, day-trips to the Burke Museum in Seattle and the Qwu?gwes archaeological site. The program will include multiple modes of teaching so that students can gain an understanding of the foundations of geology and archaeology; become more responsible for their work; improve their collaboration and communication skills; and enhance integrative, independent, and critical thinking. 

Program Details

Fields of Study

anthropology geology

Preparatory For

science, social science, geology, and archaeology.


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

Monday 9 – 12 Lecture & Workshop
Tuesday 9 – 12 Data Analysis Lab
Tuesday 1 – 4 Seminar
Wednesday 9 – 12 Lecture & Workshop
Thursday 9 – 12 Labs & Field Trips

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


$305 in spring for an overnight field trip around the Olympic Peninsula.