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Anthropological Archaeology


Hantman teaching


Plog canyon



Summer lab

Anthropological archaeology investigates past cultures and their transformations through time. The archaeology faculty members in the Department of Anthropology emphasize anthropologically oriented research on past social, political, economic, and ritual systems as well as the material and immaterial ties between past and present.

Our approach is global and comparative, with regional interests of the faculty and graduate students including Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Faculty members share an interest in the formation and organizational dynamics of middle range and/or large-scale societies. From the analysis of regional political economies to ritual analysis to colonialism and slavery, we stress the integration of anthropological theory with archaeological field methods, artifact analysis, and analytical approaches.

Faculty and students interact closely with anthropologists in other subfields of the Department, and our students gain a strong foundation in the field of anthropology. Our graduate program emphasizes the framing of significant research questions and the development of innovative research designs to investigate them. This training has contributed to the excellent track record of our students in obtaining research funding and job placement. We have found that the strong integration of archaeology, cultural anthropology, and linguistics in our Department provides our students with a distinctive and richly anthropological approach to the past.

Current research interests in the Department include:

  • the emergence and nature of medium-range and large-scale societies
  • households and house societies
  • political economy and exchange
  • ritual systems
  • regional networks
  • the study of European colonial expansion
  • subaltern studies (post-colonial identities, non-elites)
  • public archaeology and the politics of archaeology
  • urbanism
  • quantitative analysis
  • zooarchaeology
  • digital archaeology

The archaeology faculty host the Archaeology Brown-Bag Workshop, which provides an informal, interdisciplinary venue for presentations of work in progress by students, faculty, and visiting scholars, and for discussion of developments in the recent archaeological literature. Anthropology archaeology faculty also participate in the University's Interdisciplinary BA Program in Archaeology [link] with colleagues in Art History, Architectural History, History, Classics and other fields.

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