Archaeology Minor

Archaeology is the interdisciplinary study of the past through its material remains, situated in their cultural and environmental context. The core and supporting courses of the Archaeology Minor at Carleton are designed to give students a methodological and theoretical introduction to these three elements of materials, culture and environment. In course projects, students take an interdisciplinary view, analyzing and interpreting material remains in a variety of ways. The range of supporting courses provides students with the flexibility to plan their own programs. In addition to Archaeology courses, several other departments offer classes that count toward the Archaeology Minor; these include Classics, Geology, Art History, History, and Sociology and Anthropology. Students are highly encouraged (but not required) to become involved in archaeological fieldwork beyond the context of their coursework at Carleton.

Students from any major may participate in the Archaeology Minor. Students interested in the minor are encouraged to consult with the co-directors of the minor early in the sophomore year in order to plan ahead and retain as much freedom of choice as possible in meeting the requirements of the program, especially because two required courses are offered only every other year.

Requirements for the Archaeology Minor

A total of forty-eight credits are required for the minor, including:

  • Core Courses (24 credits required) 

    •  or CLAS 122 The Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory
    •  or CLAS 123 Greek Archaeology and Art (not offered 2021-22)
    •  or CLAS 124 Roman Archaeology and Art
    • GEOL 210 Geomorphology
    •  or GEOL 258 Geomorphology of Soils (not offered 2021-22)

              (Note: there is a prerequisite of one 100-level geology courses to enroll
              in either of these courses)

  • Capstone Seminar (6 credits required):
    • ARCN 395 Archaeology: Science, Ethics, Nationalism and Cultural Property
  • Supporting Courses (18 credits required):

Supporting courses may be drawn from any of the core courses listed above (beyond the 24 credits required), or from selected other ARCN pertinent courses (listed below). In each course the student must (at a minimum) complete a project with an explicit focus on the interpretation of archaeological materials. In certain circumstances another course (one not listed as ARCN pertinent) may be substituted with the approval of the Archaeology Program director, provided the requirement of completing an archaeological project of sufficient scale is also fulfilled. An archaeological field school or independent study may also count toward one of the required supporting courses with approval of the Program director.

The director of the minor can advise students about which courses may fulfill these requirements. These courses are in many College departments and include courses taught by visiting professors. Students are encouraged to consult with the Program director, who is available to help students and instructors of supporting courses. The following courses with ARCN pertinent designations can be applied to the Minor. Note that 100-level Geology courses may, but do not always, count as supporting courses.

  • ARCN 111 Archaeology of the Americas
  • ARCN 222 Experimental Archaeology and Experiential History
  • ARTH 101 Introduction to Art History I
  • CLAS 122 The Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory: From the Beginning to the Classical Age
  • CLAS 123 Greek Archaeology and Art (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CLAS 124 Roman Archaeology and Art
  • CLAS 145 Ancient Greek Religion (not offered in 2021-22)
  • CLAS 385 Islands in Time: Insular Life, Culture, and History in the Mediterranean World
  • GEOL 110 Introduction to Geology and Lab
  • GEOL 115 Climate Change in Geology and Lab (not offered in 2021-22)
  • GEOL 120 Introduction to Environmental Geology & Lab
  • GEOL 125 Introduction to Field Geology and Lab
  • GEOL 210 Geomorphology and Lab
  • GEOL 245 “When the Earth Shook…” Earthquakes in Human History and Lab (not offered in 2021-22)
  • GEOL 258 Geology of Soils and Lab (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 100 Migration and Mobility in the Medieval North
  • HIST 133 Crisis, Creativity, and Transformation in Late Antiquity
  • HIST 138 Crusades, Mission, and the Expansion of Europe (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 204 Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Medieval Mediterranean (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 233 The Byzantine World and Its Neighbors, 750-ca. 1453
  • HIST 238 The Viking World
  • HIST 338 Digital History, Public Heritage & Deep Mapping (not offered in 2021-22)
  • SOAN 110 Introduction to Anthropology

Archaeology Courses

ARCN 111 Archaeology of the Americas This class will examine how archaeologists know the past, focusing on North and South America. The course is organized by themes including migration (first peopling of the Americas, trans-Atlantic slave trade), early cities (Caral in South America, Teotihuacan in Central America, Cahokia in North America), and the environment (domestication, over hunting).  Remember--the past is not something natural and static that waits to be “discovered.” The past changes depending on who gets to tell the story--it is not neutral! Whose past is legitimate? Which voices get heard or ignored? In this course, you will find out! 6 credits; SI, IDS; Winter; Sarah A Kennedy
ARCN 211 Coercion and Exploitation: Material Histories of Labor What do antebellum plantations, Spanish missions, British colonies in Australia, mining camps in Latin America, and Roman estates all have in common? All are examples of unfair/unfree and forced labor in colonial and imperial settings. This class will review archaeological, archival, and ethnographic cases of past coerced and exploitative labor, and compare them with modern cases such as human trafficking, child slavery, bonded labor, and forced marriage. Case studies include the Andes under Inka and Spanish rule, North American and Caribbean plantations, British colonial Australia, and Dutch colonial Asia. 6 credits; SI, IS; Not offered 2021-22
ARCN 222 Experimental Archaeology and Experiential History This course offers an experiential approach to crafts, technologies, and other material practices in premodern societies. Through hands-on activities and collaborations with local craftspeople, farmers, and other experts, this course will examine and test a variety of hypotheses about how people in the past lived their lives. How did prehistoric people produce stone tools, pottery, and metal? How did ancient Greeks and Romans feed and clothe themselves? How did medieval Europeans build their homes and bury their dead? Students will answer these questions and more by actively participating in a range of experimental archaeology and experiential history projects. Lab required. Prerequisite: One previous Archaeology pertinent course. 6 credits; LS; Fall; Austin P Mason
ARCN 246 Archaeological Methods & Lab As a field that is truly interdisciplinary, archaeology uses a wide range of methods to study the past. This course provides a hands-on introduction to the entire archaeological process through classroom, field, and laboratory components. Students will participate in background research concerning local places of historical or archaeological interest; landscape surveying and mapping in GIS; excavation; the recording, analysis, and interpretation of artifacts; and the publication of results. This course involves real archaeological fieldwork, and students will have an opportunity to contribute to the history of the local community while learning archaeological methods applicable all over the world. 6 credits; LS, QRE; Spring; Sarah A Kennedy
ARCN 250 Digital Archaeology The practice of archaeology in the twenty-first century is an inevitably digital undertaking: from the way we record data, process finds, map distributions, analyze patterns, and even publish our interpretations, it all passes through a ‘digital filter.’ This hands-on course will explore the different approaches that digital archaeologies take--from 3D imaging of objects and structures, spatial analysis in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing initiatives in contested or inaccessible landscapes, to modeling in Virtual Reality (VR) environments--while also reading about and discussing the implications and challenges of digital approaches and technologies for the theory and practice of archaeology.  3 credits; NE, QRE; Not offered 2021-22
ARCN 395 Archaeology: Science, Ethics, Nationalism and Cultural Property This seminar course will focus on a wide range of contemporary issues in archaeology, including case studies from many continents and time periods that shed light on archaeological theory and practice. Specific course content varies. The course serves as the capstone seminar for the Archaeology Minor; enrollment is also open to non-minors. 6 credits; NE; Spring; Alex R Knodell