Geoarchaeology

Students may complete a concentration in Geoarchaeology.

Faculty

Don Barber, Associate Professor of Geology on the Harold Alderfer Chair in Environmental Studies

Peter Magee, Chair and Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program

Arlo Weil, Chair and Professor of Geology

The geoarchaeology concentration allows students majoring in anthropology, archaeology or geology to explore the connections among these fields with respect to how our human ancestors interacted with past environments, and how traces of human behavior are preserved in the physical environment. Students must complete paperwork to declare the concentration, in addition to declaring one of the above majors, and should consult with associated faculty for more information and course planning advice.

Requirements for the Concentration

  • Two 100-level units from Anthropology, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology (including ARCH 135, a half-credit course) or Geology, of which one must be from the department outside the student’s major
  • ARCH B270: Geoarchaeology
  • CITY B201 or CITY B328: GIS Course
  • Two elective courses, to be chosen in consultation with the major advisor, from among current offerings in Anthropology, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and Geology. One of these two courses must be from outside the student’s major. Suggested courses include but are not limited to ARCH 135 (HALF-CREDIT: Archaeological Fieldwork and Methods), ANTH 203 (Human Ecology), ANTH 220 (Methods and Theory), ARCH 330 (History of Archaeology and Theory), ANTH 225 (Paleolithic Archaeology), ANTH 240 (Traditional Technologies), ARCH 308 (Ceramic Analysis), ARCH 332 (Field Techniques), GEOL 202 (Mineralogy), GEOL 205 (Sedimentology), GEOL 310 (Geophysics), and GEOL 312 (Quaternary Climates).

COURSES

ANTH B220 Methods and Theory in Archaeology

An examination of techniques and theories archaeologists use to transform archaeological data into statements about patterns of prehistoric cultural behavior, adaptation and culture change. Theory development, hypothesis formulation, gathering of archaeological data and their interpretation and evaluation are discussed and illustrated by examples. Theoretical debates current in anthropological archaeology are reviewed and the place of archaeology in the general field of anthropology is discussed. Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or permission of instructor.
Approach: Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Geoarchaeology
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Barrier,C.
(Spring 2017)

ARCH B104 Archaeology of Agricultural and Urban Revolutions

This course examines the archaeology of the two most fundamental changes that have occurred in human society in the last 12,000 years, agriculture and urbanism, and we explore these in Egypt and the Near East as far as India. We also explore those societies that did not experience these changes.
Approach: Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC); Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Geoarchaeology; Middle Eastern Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Magee,P.
(Spring 2017)

ARCH B135 Focus: Archaeological Fieldwork and Methods

The fundamentals of the practice of archaeology through readings and case studies and participatory demonstrations. Case studies will be drawn from the archives of the Nemea Valley Archaeological Project and material in the College’s collections. Each week there will be a 1-hour laboratory that will introduce students to a variety of fieldwork methods and forms of analysis. This is a half semester Focus course.
Approach: Inquiry into the Past (IP)
Counts towards: Geoarchaeology
Units: 0.5
(Not Offered 2016-2017)

ARCH B308 Ceramic Analysis

Pottery is a fundamental means of establishing the relative chronology of archaeological sites and of understanding past human behavior. Included are theories, methods and techniques of pottery description, analysis and interpretation. Topics include typology, seriation, ceramic characterization, production, function, exchange and the use of computers in pottery analysis. Laboratory work on pottery in the department collections. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Counts towards: Geoarchaeology
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Magee,P.
(Spring 2017)

GEOL B202 Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry

The crystal chemistry of representative minerals as well as the relationship between the physical properties of minerals and their structures and chemical compositions. Emphasis is placed on mineral identification and interpretation. The occurrence and petrography of typical mineral associations and rocks is also covered. Lecture three hours, laboratory at least three hours a week. One required field trip on a weekend. Prerequisite: introductory course in Geology or Chemistry (both recommended, one required).
Approach: Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)
Counts towards: Geoarchaeology
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Cull-Hearth,S.
(Fall 2016)

GEOL B205 Sedimentary Materials and Environments

An introduction to sediment transport, depositional processes, and stratigraphic analysis, with emphasis on interpretation of sedimentary sequences and the reconstruction of past environments. Three lectures and one lab a week, plus a one-day field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 101, 102, or 103 or permission of instructor. Recommended: GEOL B202 and B203.
Approach: Course does not meet an Approach
Counts towards: Geoarchaeology
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Barber,D.
(Spring 2017)

GEOL B310 Introduction to Geophysics

An overview covering how geophysical observations of the Earth’s magnetic field, gravity field, heat flow, radioactivity, and seismic waves provide a means to study plate tectonics and the earth’s interior. Three class hours a week with weekly problem sets. Prerequisite: one year of college physics or with permission of professor.
Counts towards: Geoarchaeology
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2016-2017)