Archaeology Major

Admission to the Major

To apply to become a major in archaeology, a student must have taken or be currently enrolled in either a Gateway or a Thinking Through Archaeology course and earn a grade of B or better. Following electronic application, admission will be determined by a meeting of the ARCP faculty.

Gateway courses

ARCP201Art and Archaeology of the Bronze Age Mediterranean1
ARCP203The Secrets of Ancient Bones: Discovering Ancient DNA and Archaeology1
ARCP214Survey of Greek Archaeology1
ARCP223Survey of Roman Archaeology and Art1

Thinking through archaeology

ARCP234Art and Society in Ancient Pompeii1
ARCP244Pyramids and Funeral Pyres: Death and the Afterlife in Greece and Egypt1
ARCP285Off with its Pedestal! The Greek Vase as Art and Artifact1
ARCP292Archaeology of Food, Trade, and Power in South India1

Major Requirements

A major in archaeology consists of at least nine different courses numbered 200 and above:

  • One Gateway course—see list above
  • One Thinking Through Archaeology course—see list above
  • One course in each of the four areas—see lists below
    • Anthropology
    • Art history
    • Classical civilization
    • Methods and theory
  • Two electives in archaeology or related disciplines
  • Senior essay/thesis tutorial (1 or 2 credits)
  • Recommended fieldwork

Anthropology

ARCP203The Secrets of Ancient Bones: Discovering Ancient DNA and Archaeology1
ARCP257Environmental Archaeology1

Art History

ARCP292Archaeology of Food, Trade, and Power in South India1
ARCP380Relic and Image: The Archaeology and Social History of Indian Buddhism1
ARCP382Archaeology of Money: Numismatics and GIS1

Classical Studies

ARCP201Art and Archaeology of the Bronze Age Mediterranean1
ARCP214Survey of Greek Archaeology1
ARCP223Survey of Roman Archaeology and Art1
ARCP234Art and Society in Ancient Pompeii1
ARCP244Pyramids and Funeral Pyres: Death and the Afterlife in Greece and Egypt1

Methods and Theory

ARCP257Environmental Archaeology1
ARCP382Archaeology of Money: Numismatics and GIS1

Fieldwork

Archaeological fieldwork, typically carried out over the summer, is an excellent way to acquire hands-on experience and training in archaeological methods and excavation techniques. It also allows students to explore the history and material culture of a region in greater depth and, in some cases, even to conduct research on primary materials from a site that can then serve as the basis for a senior thesis or capstone project.

Fieldwork opportunities are offered both by our Wesleyan faculty as well as through a number of programs worldwide. For more information and a list of archaeological field programs, visit wesleyan.edu/archprog/fieldwork/. Excavation experience is strongly encouraged, and completion of an approved archaeological field school program may be substituted for the methods and theory requirement.

Courses for Non-Majors

Since there are no ARCP courses with prerequisites, all of our courses are suitable for non-majors.

Student Learning Goals

Archaeology is the discipline most directly concerned with the understanding and explanation of past societies through the study of their material remains.  Archaeology majors are expected to master four of six themes or topics:

  • History and theory of the discipline
  • The nature of archaeological evidence
  • The construction of archaeological arguments
  • Chronology
  • The materiality of social, political, and economic organization
  • The intersection of archaeological evidence with past and present identities

Majors are also required to take at least one course in each of the departments that contribute to the Archaeology Program (Anthropology, Art History, Classical Civilization) in order to expose them to different disciplinary approaches to the study of material culture.

Study Abroad

Study abroad is possible at a number of institutions with well-established archaeology programs, some of which include tours of archaeological sites in addition to coursework. Wesleyan students have recently participated in semesters abroad at these institutions:

  • University College London (UK)
  • St. Andrews University (Scotland, UK)
  • Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome (Italy)
  • College Year in Athens (Greece)

Interested students should consult the Office of Study Abroad for details about transferable credit.

Additional Information

  • We encourage students to take the Gateway course before their chosen Thinking Through Archaeology course. However, as we have no prerequisites for entry to archaeology courses, it is possible for students to complete these requirements in reverse order.
  • With prior approval from the chair of the Archaeology Program, the methods and theory requirement may be fulfilled by academic credit from a field school program. We strongly encourage minors to gain fieldwork experience in archaeology.
  • Upon the discretion of the archaeology chair, one nonfieldwork archaeology credit may be transferred in to cover a Gateway or area requirement.
  • No more than two courses cross-listed with the student’s major will be counted toward the archaeology minor.

Honors

See Capstone Experience below.

Capstone Experience

All majors must write a senior honors thesis or a senior essay that involves interpretation of material remains. This may include work on objects in the archaeology and anthropology collections or research tied to a project of a Wesleyan faculty member. Students pursuing honors both in archaeology and in a second major are required to take at least one of their two required thesis tutorials in the archaeology program (i.e., either ARCP409 or ARCP410).