Archaeology Major, B.A.

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.

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

Requirements

In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

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

Core Requirements
One course in archaeological method and theory:3
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Principles of Archaeology
IDEAs in Action General Education logo 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
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods in Archaeology H
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods: Archaeobotany
and Archaeobotany Lab
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods: Human Osteology
and Human Osteology Lab
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods: Zooarchaeology
and Zooarchaeology Lab
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Bioarchaeology
Laboratory Methods: Lithic Seminar
and Lithic Analysis Lab
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods: Ceramic Analysis
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Public Archaeology Practicum
One must be a field school (may be satisfied with a minimum of 3 hours of transfer credit):
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Field School in North American Archaeology H
Field School in South American Archaeology H
Field School in Classical Archaeology
Six courses from the list below; must include offerings from at least two departments 118
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Skeletons in the Closet
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: The Indians' New Worlds: Southeastern Histories from 1200 to 1800
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Crisis & Resilience: Past and Future of Human Societies H
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Public Archaeology in Bronzeville, Chicago's Black Metropolis
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Humans and Animals: Anthropological Perspectives
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Cities of the Americas
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Habitat and Humanity
Archaeology and the Media
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to World Prehistory
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Human Origins
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Great Discoveries in Archaeology
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Prehistoric Art
IDEAs in Action General Education logo The Inca and Their Ancestors: The Archaeology of Andean South America
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancestral Maya Civilizations H
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Archaeology of Ancient Turkey
Origins of Civilization: Archaeology of the British Museum
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Archaeology of North America H
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Archaeology of Food
The Identification and Analysis of Historical Artifacts
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods in Archaeology H
Paleoanthropology
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods: Archaeobotany
and Archaeobotany Lab
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods: Human Osteology
and Human Osteology Lab
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods: Zooarchaeology
and Zooarchaeology Lab
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Bioarchaeology
Laboratory Methods: Lithic Seminar
and Lithic Analysis Lab
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Laboratory Methods: Ceramic Analysis
Anthropological Application of GIS
Public Archaeology
Archaeological Geology
Written in Bone: CSI and the Science of Death Investigation from Skeletal Remains
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Public Archaeology Practicum
The Archaeology of African Diasporas
Archaeology and Ethnography of Small-Scale Societies
Perspectives in Historical Archaeology
Historical Ecology
Ethnohistory
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Archaeology of Sex and Gender
State Formation
IDEAs in Action General Education logo The Archaeology of Health and Well-Being
Disease and Discrimination in Colonial Atlantic America
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Archaeology of the American South
Origins of Agriculture in the Ancient World
Reconstructing Life: Nutrition and Disease in Past Populations
Identity, Memory, and the Afterlife: The Space and Place of Death
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Issues in Cultural Heritage
Research in Archaeology
Independent Study in Archaeology
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Art in the Ancient City H
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Who Owns the Past? H
IDEAs in Action General Education logo The Archaeology of Palestine in the New Testament Period
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Cities H
Special Topics in Classical Archaeology
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Art and Fashion from Rome to Timbuktu
Archaeology of Ancient Near East
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Archaeology of Egypt
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Minoans and Mycenaeans: The Archaeology of Bronze Age Greece
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Greek Archaeology
Archaeology of Italy
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Roman Archaeology
Art of Classical Greece
Roman Art
Archaeology of Cult
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Life in Ancient Pompeii
Independent Study in Classical Archaeology
Classical Greek Sculpture
Greek Architecture
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Architecture of Etruria and Rome
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Roman Sculpture
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Provinces and Frontiers of the Roman Empire
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Roman Painting
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Egypt after the Pharaohs
Art and Archaeology of Achaemenid Persia
The Archaeology of the Near East in the Iron Age
The Archaeology of Anatolia in the Bronze and Iron Ages
The Archaeology of Early Greece (1200-500 BCE)
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient Synagogues
Mosaics: The Art of Mosaic in Greece, Rome, and Byzantium
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: The Architecture of Empire H
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Life in Ancient Pompeii H
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Art and Fashion from Rome to Timbuktu
Greek Painting
Art and Archaeology of Achaemenid Persia
Ancient Mayan Hieroglyphs
Mesoamerican Languages and Linguistics
Native Languages of the Americas
IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Total Hours27-31
H

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

1

Courses that are cross-listed count under department in which student enrolls. 

Additional Requirements

  • Students are required to select courses from at least two of the participating departments (art, anthropology, classics, and religious studies).
  • 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 major 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.

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.

Department Programs

Major

Minor

Department of Archaeology

Visit Program Website

108 Alumni Building, CB# 3120

(919) 962-6574

Chair

C. Margaret Scarry

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Jennifer Gates-Foster

gatesfos@email.unc.edu