Archaeology Major, B.A.

Department of Archaeology

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108 Alumni Building, CB# 3120

(919) 962-6574

C. Margaret Scarry, Chair

Ben Arbuckle, Director of Undergraduate Study, Fall 2020

Margaret Scarry, Director of Undergraduate Study, Spring 2021

The undergraduate major in archaeology focuses on the systematic study of the human past through its material remains by means of the excavation, recovery, and interpretation of artifacts and other associated evidence.

Department Programs



Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the archaeology program, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of archaeological reasoning (the ability to analyze ancient material culture and archaeological contexts)
  • Demonstrate appropriate skills of archaeological exposition
  • Demonstrate proficiency in recovering and documenting a variety of forms of material culture and archaeological contexts
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilize both data sets and theoretical frameworks for interpreting and reconstructing long-term human history


In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
One course in the logic of archaeological inference:3
Principles of Archaeology
Archaeological Theory and Practice
Archaeological Field Methods
Two courses in archaeological practice.6-10
One must be a laboratory course:
The Identification and Analysis of Historical Artifacts
Laboratory Methods in Archaeology H
Laboratory Methods: Archaeobotany
and Archaeobotany Lab
Laboratory Methods: Human Osteology
and Human Osteology Lab
Laboratory Methods: Zooarchaeology
and Zooarchaeology Lab
Laboratory Methods: Lithic Seminar
and Lithic Analysis Lab
Laboratory Methods: Ceramic Analysis
Public Archaeology Practicum
One must be a field school (may be satisfied with a minimum of 3 hours of transfer credit):
Field School in North American Archaeology H
Field School in South American Archaeology H
Field School in Classical Archaeology
One course in comparative perspectives from the following list:3
Ancient Cities of the Americas
Habitat and Humanity
Introduction to World Prehistory
Prehistoric Art
Archaeology and Ethnography of Small-Scale Societies
State Formation
Origins of Agriculture in the Ancient World
First-Year Seminar: Art in the Ancient City H
Ancient Cities H
Two courses in long-term history from the list below6
One course in topics in archaeology from the list below3
One elective course chosen from any of the courses/requirements listed above. Internship, independent research, directed readings, or honors thesis hours selected from ARCH 393, ARCH 395, ARCH 396, ARCH 691H, or ARCH 692H may be substituted for the elective.3
Two additional electives from related fields (see lists below). The elective courses are listed by potential student interest. Any two may be used to fulfill the major requirement.6
Total Hours30-34

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Additional Requirements

  • In choosing their comparative perspectives, long-term history, and topics in archaeology courses, students are required to select courses from at least two of the participating departments (art, anthropology, classics, and religious studies).
  • Of the 30 hours required for the major, at least 21 must be completed with a grade of C or better.
  • Students may count only three introductory archaeology courses (numbered below 200) toward their major. This restriction does not include courses used to fill electives in related fields.
  • For transfer students, at least half of the coursework in the major must be completed within the curriculum at UNC–Chapel Hill.

Subject to the approval of the advisor for the major, students may count graduate seminars towards fulfillment of their comparative perspectives, long-term history, and topics in archaeology or electives requirements. Also subject to the approval of the archaeology major advisor, field schools sponsored by Study Abroad or other universities may be used to fulfill the archaeological practice field experience requirement.

Long-term History

ANTH 148Human Origins3
ANTH 231The Inca and Their Ancestors: The Archaeology of Andean South America3
ANTH 233Prehistory of Southwest Asia and Egypt: From the Earliest Humans to the Rise of Civilization3
ANTH 250Archaeology of North America H3
ANTH 457Perspectives in Historical Archaeology3
ARTH/CLAR 262Art of Classical Greece3
ARTH/CLAR 263Roman Art3
CLAR 241Archaeology of Ancient Near East3
CLAR 242Archaeology of Egypt3
CLAR 244Greek Archaeology3
CLAR 245Archaeology of Italy3
CLAR 247Roman Archaeology3
CLAR 268Hellenistic Art and Archaeology (350-31 BCE)3
CLAR 480Egypt after the Pharaohs3
CLAR 475Frontiers and Provinces of the Roman Empire3
CLAR 561Mosaics: The Art of Mosaic in Greece, Rome, and Byzantium3
CLAR/JWST/RELI 110The Archaeology of Palestine in the New Testament Period3

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Topics in Archaeology

AMST/ANTH 54First-Year Seminar: The Indians' New Worlds: Southeastern Histories from 1200 to 18003
ANTH 50First-Year Seminar: Skeletons in the Closet3
ANTH 60First-Year Seminar: Crisis Resilience: Past and Future of Human Societies H3
ANTH 64First-Year Seminar: Public Archaeology in Bronzeville, Chicago's Black Metropolis3
ANTH 65First-Year Seminar: Humans and Animals: Anthropological Perspectives3
ANTH 144Archaeology and the Media3
ANTH 149Great Discoveries in Archaeology3
ANTH 232Ancestral Maya Civilizations H3
ANTH 252Archaeology of Food3
ANTH 412Paleoanthropology3
ANTH 420Public Archaeology3
ANTH 423Written in Bone: CSI and the Science of Death Investigation from Skeletal Remains3
ANTH 454The Archaeology of African Diasporas3
ANTH 538Disease and Discrimination in Colonial Atlantic America3
ANTH 550Archaeology of the American South3
ANTH 650Reconstructing Life: Nutrition and Disease in Past Populations3
ANTH 651Identity, Memory, and the Afterlife: The Space and Place of Death3
ANTH 674Issues in Cultural Heritage3
ANTH/ENEC 460Historical Ecology3
ANTH/FOLK 455Ethnohistory3
ANTH/GEOL 421Archaeological Geology3
ANTH/WGST 458Archaeology of Sex and Gender3
ARTH/CLAR 464Greek Architecture3
ARTH/CLAR 465Architecture of Etruria and Rome3
ARTH/CLAR 474Roman Sculpture3
ARTH/CLAR 476Roman Painting3
CLAR 51First-Year Seminar: Who Owns the Past? H3
CLAR 243Minoans and Mycenaeans: The Archaeology of Bronze Age Greece3
CLAR 488The Archaeology of the Near East in the Iron Age3
CLAR 489The Archaeology of Anatolia in the Bronze and Iron Ages3
CLAR 491The Archaeology of Early Greece (1200-500 BCE)3
CLAR/JWST/RELI 512Ancient Synagogues3
CLAR/RELI 375Archaeology of Cult3
CLAS 71First-Year Seminar: The Architecture of Empire H3
LING 558Ancient Mayan Hieroglyphs3
LING 560Mesoamerican Languages and Linguistics3
LING 561Native Languages of the Americas3
RELI 63First-Year Seminar: The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls3

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Electives–General Interest Electives

ANTH 143Human Evolution and Adaptation3
ANTH 151Anthropological Perspectives on Food and Culture3
ANTH 377European Societies3
ANTH 438Religion, Nature, and Environment H3
ANTH 452The Past in the Present3
ANTH 459Ecological Anthropology3
ANTH/FOLK 334Art, Nature, and Religion: Cross-Cultural Perspectives3
ARTH 151History of Western Art I H3
ARTH 152History of Western Art II H3
ARTH 450The City as Monument H3
ARTH 551Introduction to Museum Studies3
ARTH 592History and Theory of Museums3
ARTH/HIST 514Monuments and Memory3
ARTS 213Ceramic I3
BIOL/ENEC 461Fundamentals of Ecology4
ENEC 201Introduction to Environment and Society H4
ENEC 202Introduction to the Environmental Sciences4
ENEC 308Environmental History3
ENEC 479Landscape Analysis3
ENEC/GEOL 417Geomorphology3
GEOG 110The Blue Planet: An Introduction to Earth's Environmental Systems H3
GEOG 111Weather and Climate3
GEOG 123Cultural Geography3
GEOG 125Cultural Landscapes3
GEOG 228Urban Geography3
GEOG 370Introduction to Geographic Information3
GEOG 419Field Methods in Physical Geography3
GEOG 444Landscape Biogeography3
GEOG 597Ecological Modeling3
GEOG/PLAN 491Introduction to GIS3
GEOL 77First-Year Seminar: Volcanoes and Civilization: An Uneasy Coexistence3
GEOL 101Planet Earth3
GEOL 301Earth Materials: Minerals4
GEOL 304Petrology and Plate Tectonics4
GEOL 501Geological Research Techniques3
HIST 514Monuments and Memory3
HIST 671Introduction to Public History3
RELI 438Religion, Nature, and Environment H3

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Electives–Appropriate for Students Interested in Historical Archaeology

AAAD 130Introduction to African American and Diaspora Studies3
AAAD 211African Art and Culture3
AAAD 231African American History since 18653
AAAD 254African Americans in North Carolina3
AAAD 232/WGST 266Black Women in America3
AMST 102Myth and History in American Memory3
AMST 210Approaches to Southern Studies: A Historical Analysis of the American South3
AMST 475Documenting Communities H3
AMST/FOLK 488No Place like Home: Material Culture of the American South3
ANTH/FOLK 340Southern Styles, Southern Cultures4
ARTH 156Introduction to Architecture H3
ARTH 274European Baroque Art3
ARTH 27518th-Century Art3
GEOG/FOLK 254American Historical Geographies3
GEOG 261The South3
GEOG 262Geography of North Carolina3
HIST 107Medieval History3
HIST 127American History to 18653
HIST 128American History since 18653
HIST 237Colonial American History to 17633
HIST 278The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade H3
HIST 366North Carolina History before 18653
HIST 376History of African Americans to 18653
HIST 385/WGST 382African American Women's History3
HIST 516Historical Time H3
HIST 531History of the Caribbean3
HIST 534The African Diaspora3
HIST/WGST 568Women in the South3
HIST 584The Promise of Urbanization: American Cities in the 19th and 20th Centuries3

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Electives–Appropriate for Students Interested in the Archaeology of the Americas

AMST 203Approaches to American Indian Studies3
AMST/ANTH/HIST 234Native American Tribal Studies H3
AMST/HIST 110Introduction to the Cultures and Histories of Native North America3
AMST/HIST 231Native American History: The East3
AMST/HIST 233Native American History: The West3
ANTH/FOLK 230Native American Cultures3
ANTH/LING 303Native Languages of the Americas3
ARTH 157Introduction to Latin American Visual Culture3
ARTH 469Art of the Aztec Empire3
GEOG 259Society and Environment in Latin America3
GEOG 260North America's Landscapes3
HIST 142Latin America under Colonial Rule3
HIST 143Latin America since Independence3
HIST 531History of the Caribbean3
HIST/WGST 576The Ethnohistory of Native American Women3
LTAM 411Summer Intensive Introductory Course in Yucatec Maya6

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Electives–Appropriate for Students Interested in the Archaeology of the Mediterranean and Ancient Near East

ARTH 467Celtic Art and Cultures3
CLAS 71First-Year Seminar: The Architecture of Empire H3
CLAS 73First-Year Seminar: Life in Ancient Pompeii H3
CLAS 253The Age of Pericles H3
CLAS 254Alexander and the Age of Hellenism3
CLAS 257The Age of Augustus H3
CLAS 258The Age of the Early Roman Empire3
CLAS/WGST 240Women in Greek Art and Literature H3
CLAS/WGST 241Women in Ancient Rome H3
FOLK/RELI 502Myths and Epics of the Ancient Near East H3
HIST 225History of Greece3
HIST 226History of Rome3
HIST 423Archaic Greece, 800-480 BCE3
HIST 424Classical Greece (Sixth-Fourth Centuries BCE)3
HIST 425Roman History, 154 BCE-14 CE3
HIST 427The Early Roman Empire, 14 CE-193 CE3
HIST 428The Later Roman Empire, 193 CE-378 CE3
HIST/PWAD 421Alexander3
HIST/PWAD 422Ancient Greek Warfare H3
JWST/RELI 103Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Literature H3
JWST/RELI 106Introduction to Early Judaism3
JWST/RELI 503Exploring the Dead Sea Scrolls H3
RELI 104Introduction to the New Testament H3
RELI 105Religions of the Greco-Roman World3
RELI 109History and Culture of Ancient Israel H3
RELI 117Culture of the Ancient Near East3

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Special Opportunities in Archaeology

Honors in Archaeology

Students with a grade point average of 3.3 or higher are eligible to pursue a degree with honors. A student who wishes to take this track should identify and contact a faculty thesis advisor before the end of the junior year. During the senior year the student enrolls in a two-semester course sequence, ARCH 691H and ARCH 692H, which provides the opportunity to carry out an independent research project and write a thesis under the direction of the faculty advisor. Prior to registering for the honors courses, the student and faculty mentor must fill out a contract and have it signed by the curriculum’s director of undergraduate studies. The thesis is evaluated by a committee consisting of the advisor and two readers. The advisor and at least one reader must be members of the Curriculum in Archaeology’s faculty. A student who successfully completes the thesis may be awarded honors or highest honors by the committee. Highest honors is awarded only in cases where the thesis is judged to be exceptional in comparison to other such works.

Research Laboratories of Archaeology

Founded in 1939, the Research Laboratories of Archaeology (RLA) was the first center for the study of North Carolina archaeology. Serving the interests of students, scholars, and the general public, it is currently one of the leading institutes for archaeological teaching and research in the South. Located within the College of Arts and Sciences, it provides support and research opportunities for UNC–Chapel Hill students working not only in North Carolina but also throughout the Americas and overseas.

Duke–UNC Consortium for Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology (CCMA)

The Duke–UNC Consortium for Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology represents a collaboration between the institutions in order to enhance archaeology curricula and concentrations in the respective departments and programs in archaeology. The consortium fosters an interdisciplinary dialogue on methods, theory, and practice in classical archaeology and material culture, providing students access to coursework, seminars, excavations, and other research opportunities; academic advising; and avenues for curricular and extracurricular interaction.

Experiential Education

The development of skills and perspectives beyond the classroom is considered central to the curriculum in archaeology. Hands-on training in field archeology provides students with the basic tools not only necessary for graduate training and advanced research in archaeology, but also for careers in cultural resource and heritage management through government agencies, contract firms, and museums. Developing an understanding of context and physical environment in archaeology requires field and laboratory experiences that are impossible to teach effectively in the classroom. Excavation and laboratory experiences allow students to participate directly in faculty research and to learn firsthand important aspects of the research process. Two or more field schools in archaeology are generally offered during summer sessions through the Study Abroad Office by faculty from the departments of anthropology, classics, religious studies, and history. In addition, many faculty research associates offer laboratory experiences through independent study projects and internships. These field work and laboratory experiences are designed to enhance the classroom training, allowing students to work as assistants to field archaeologists and specialists—such as surveyors, archaeological architects, palaeoethnobotanists, zooarchaeologists, biological anthropologists, and geomorphologists—learning firsthand various aspects of data recovery, processing, and interpretation associated with archaeological field projects.