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Programs

Archaeology explores societies and cultures of the past through their material remains Such remains include monumental and occupational sites, artifactual and natural materials, and environmental landscapes and rock art. The department’s major and minor in archaeology take an anthropological approach to understanding past societies, while also allowing students to explore archaeological approaches in other disciplines such as classical studies, history, and museum studies. Students learn technical aspects of archaeological work, and explore the theory and methods used by archaeologists to interpret the material remains of the past. Courses cover both prehistoric and historic archaeology, and topics such as the social evolution of societies and the archaeology of death, gender, and everyday life. The final component of the major and minor is participation in an archaeological field program or internship, providing experience in the methods of archaeological excavation and analysis.

The Archaeology Major
The Archaeology Minor
Course Descriptions

 

The Archaeology Major
(32-35 semester hours)

Required:
ANTH 114    (3)    Introduction to Archaeology
ANTH 221    (3)    Culture, Society, and the Individual
ARCH 115    (3)    Archaeological Methods
ENVR 316    (3)    Geographic Information Systems I

Senior Exercises:
ANTH 451    (1)    Senior Workshop in Anthropology and Archaeology
ANTH 452    (3)    Senior Seminar

Choose 1 of the following courses:
MATH 106    (3)    Statistical Reasoning
MATH 205    (3)    Applied Statistics

Choose 1 of the following:
ARCH 377    (1-3) Internship
An approved off-campus field school

Choose 1 of the following courses:
ANTH 224    (3)    Ethnography
HIST 105      (3)    Doing Sweet Briar History

Choose 2 of the following courses:
ANTH 241    (3)    Gender and Society
ANTH 338    (3)    Memory, Commemoration, and Heritage
ARCH 207    (3)    Rise and Fall of Civilizations
ARCH 265    (3)    Archaeology of Everyday Life
ARCH 310    (3)    Archaeology of Death
ARCH 317    (3)    Historical Archaeology
ARTH 232    (3)    Greek Art and Archaeology
ARTH 234    (3)    Roman Art and Archaeology

Choose 1 of the following courses:
ANTH 322    (3)    Food, Culture, and the Environment
BIOL 104     (3)    Plants and Human Affairs
ENVR 143   (4)    Physical Geography: Landscapes

NOTES: Students choosing to declare majors in both anthropology and archaeology may use ANTH 451 and ANTH 452 for only one of these majors. The senior exercise for the other major may be an independent study if approved by the  advisor.

At least 4 courses (12 credits) elected for the major, including ANTH 452, must be at the 300-level or above.

 

 

The Archaeology Minor
(18-19 hours)

Required:
ANTH 114     (3)    Introduction to Archaeology
ARCH 115    (3)    Archaeological Methods
ARCH 265    (3)    Archaeology of Everyday Life

Choose 2 or more of the following courses:
ANTH 241    (3)    Gender and Society
ANTH 338    (3)    Memory, Commemoration, and Heritage
ARCH 207    (3)    Rise and Fall of Civilizations
ARCH 310    (3)    Archaeology of Death
ARCH 317    (3)    Historical Archaeology

Choose 1 or more of the following courses:
ANTH 322    (3)    Food, Culture, and the Environment
ARTH 232    (3)    Greek Art and Archaeology
ARTH 234    (3)    Roman Archaeology and Art
BIOL 104     (3)    Plants and Human Affairs
CLAS 205    (3)    Ancient Greece
CLAS 208    (3)    Society and Culture in the Roman Empire
ENVR 143    (4)    Physical Geography: Landscapes
ENVR 316    (3)    Geographic Information Systems I
HIST 135     (3)    America, Origins to 1877
HIST 214     (3)    Building the Past
HIST 223     (3)    The Ancient World, 8000 BC to 300 AD
HIST 225     (3)    The U.S. South
HIST 272     (3)    Pre-Colonial African History
HIST 308     (3)    Encounters, Conquest and European Expansion, 1350-1650
HIST 312     (3)    Virginia: History and Memory
Other courses approved by the advisor

NOTE: At least six credit hours must be at the 300-level or above.


Course Descriptions

ANTH 114

Introduction to Archaeology
CR: 
3.0

An introduction to the theory and methods of anthropological archaeology and a survey of some of the prehistoric societies in different parts of the world. III.Q, V.1

ANTH 221

Culture, Society, and the Individual
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisite: Not open to first-year students. An introduction to the theoretical foundations of anthropology. We examine the emergence of specific problematics in anthropology: What is the relationship of the individual to society? To culture? What are the implications of talking about society as structured? About cultures as different? How do we account for change and diversity? The course introduces these questions through the examination of theoretical sources and supplemented by some ethnographic studies. V.5

ANTH 224

Ethnography
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisite: ANTH 112 or one 200-level ANTH course. A critical evaluation of the ways anthropologists study Western and non-Western cultures and the ways anthropologists shape coherent narratives. A practical introduction to fieldwork techniques, ethnographic methods, ethical dilemmas, and the conventions of anthropological writing. III.W, V.5

ANTH 241

Gender and Society
CR: 
3.0

What is gender, as a natural or social phenomenon? How do gendered practices shape social relations? Are gender differences always linked to notions of sexuality and sexual practice? Is hierarchy always established by the dominance of one gender over another? In this course we investigate primate models of gendered behavior, and the history of the early human family from evolutionary and social perspectives. The role of heterosexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality in human society are examined from archaeological sources as well as in contemporary ethnographic case studies. May be counted toward the major in archaeology and as an auxiliary course toward the minor in gender studies. Offered alternate years. III.W, V.5

ANTH 322

Food, Culture, and the Environment
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level course in ANTH or ARCH, or ENVR 101. This course covers the origins of food production and changing foodways over time and across geographical regions. The place of food in human prehistory and history, ritual and family life, and in the global economy will be examined. The course will investigate issues such as food shortages, hunger and famine, and food security in the contemporary world; the implications of food biotechnology and GMOs; and food movements such as slow food, organic, and local foods. May be counted toward the major in archaeology. Offered alternate years. V.4

ANTH 338

Memory, Commemoration, and Heritage
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisites: Two 200-level courses in ANTH or ARCH. This course takes up the question of how and what societies remember. We examine the social contexts of memory and the practices through which memory is channeled in the past and in the present. We look at the material constructions designed to commemorate events, people, and the past generally, including burials, memorials, rituals, and re-enactments and recreations. We explore the ways in which people recently have sought to transform the past into "heritage," asking both why and how heritage becomes such a concern today. May be counted toward the major in archaeology. Offered alternate years. V.5

ARCH 115

Archaeological Methods
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisite: ANTH 114 or one course in ARCH. An introduction to archaeological methods and practices, including field survey and excavation, background research, laboratory conservation and analysis, preparing project proposals, and knowledge of federal and state regulations. Students are required to participate in some weekend activities. III.Q

ARCH 207

Rise and Fall of Civilizations
CR: 
3.0

This course focuses on the emergence of complex societies in the Old and New Worlds (such as, the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Harappans, Aztecs, Mayans, and Inkans). Topics include the origins of agriculture and its effect on society, the shift from egalitarian societies to those with social ranking, the rise of cities, and the origins of writing. By highlighting the variability in preindustrial civilizations, the course examines the role of cultural values in shaping the organization of early societies. III.O, V.1

ARCH 261

Directed Study
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisites: One ARCH course and permission of the instructor. The study of introductory level material by an individual student or by a small group of students under the immediate supervision of a faculty member.

ARCH 265

Archaeology of Everyday Life
CR: 
3.0

What was daily life like in the past? What can archaeology tell us about the occupations, influences, and challenges that men, women, and children experienced in past societies such as Babylon, Akhetaten, London, Pompeii, or Virginia plantations? Topics of study include the patterning of household activities (family life, craft production, child rearing, and diet), social interactions (between genders and among elites, peasants, and slaves), and ethnic and religious affiliations. V.5

ARCH 310

Archaeology of Death
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisites: ANTH 114 and one ARCH course at the 200-level or above. Death is a universal human experience, yet mortuary rituals and burials vary cross-culturally. In this class we consider how archaeologists encounter and interpret death in societies worldwide. Topics include tombs, mummies, funerals, cemetery landscapes, gravemarkers, war memorials, and mortuary symbolism. Offered alternate years.

ARCH 317

Historical Archaeology
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisites: ANTH 114 and one ARCH or HIST course at the 200-level or above. This course uses archaeology and material culture to go beyond documentary histories. Historical archaeology traditionally examines western colonial and industrial societies, illuminating the lives of “people without history” in those societies, and sometimes questioning the documentary record. This course also extends historical archaeological methods and theories to non-western sites and peoples. Offered alternate years. V.1

ARCH 361

Special Study
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisites: Two ARCH courses (which may include ANTH 114), at least one of which is at the 200-level, one additional ANTH or ARCH course, and permission of the instructor. The study of an intermediate level topic by an individual student or by a small group of students under the immediate supervision of a faculty member.

ARCH 377

Internship
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisites: Three courses listed for the major in archaeology, including at least one ARCH course at the 200-level or above, and permission of instructor, department chair, and dean. This course is graded P/CR/NC only.

ARCH 461

Independent Study
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisites: Three courses listed for the major in archaeology, two of which must be ARCH courses and one of which must be at the 300- level, and permission of the instructor. Pursuit of an upper level research project determined in advance by the student in consultation with a faculty member who will act as the sponsor.

ARTH 232

Greek Art and Archaeology
CR: 
3.0

Area I, Ancient and Medieval. This course will examine the art of ancient Greece from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic period. It will also study important archeological sites and reflect on the role played by archaeologists and art historians in the reconstruction of the past and the ways in which Greek art hasbeen interpreted and explained in the modern era. Students will also have the opportunity to examine objects in Sweet Briar’s collection of classical antiquities. May be counted toward the major or minor in classical civilization, or the minor in archaeology.

ARTH 234

Roman Art and Archaeology
CR: 
3.0

Area I, Ancient and Medieval. This course will cover Roman material culture (art and architecture) including its roots in Etruscan architecture and sculpture (8th-6th century B.C.), the development of portraiture during the Republic, the art and architecture of the Roman Empire (including Pompeii), and the art and architecture of the Constantinian period (4th century A.D.). Included will be readings and discussions regarding the problems of chronology and dating of ancient artifacts, as well as the use of ancient literary sources to place artifacts in their context. Students will do a project utilizing Sweet Briar's classical antiquities collection. Offered alternate years. May be counted toward the majors and minors in archaeology and classical studies. V.1, V.6a

BIOL 104

Plants and Human Affairs
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisite: Not open to junior or senior biology majors or minors. An introduction to plants and their remarkable impact on diverse aspects of human activity. This course will explore the ways in which humans use plants for food, medicine, and other products; the role of plants in our environment; and the implications of plants in areas such as economics and human culture. Some topics will be based on student interest and may include current concerns such as world hunger, use of chemicals in agriculture, use of genetically-engineered foods, and uses of native plants. V.8a

ENVR 143

Physical Geography: Landscapes
CR: 
4.0

A study of the geologic processes that shape the Earth's surface, including natural hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, and climate change. The nature and distribution of landforms, rocks, and soils are explored, along with their relationship to human society. Lab involves hands-on investigation of these topics, including map interpretation and field exercises. V.8ab

ENVR 316

Geographic Information Systems I
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisite: Permission required for first-year students. A practical, hands-on introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) as applied to current issues in a wide range of disciplines. The course introduces maps and map-making, GIS fundamentals, the global positioning system (GPS), and remote sensing. Lab involves learning to use ArcGIS software at the ArcView level for mapmaking and management/analysis of spatial data, along with basic web page construction. Two hours lecture and three hours lab per week.

HIST 105

Introduction to History: Doing Sweet Briar History
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisite: Open to first-year students and sophomores; others by permission of the instructor. This course explores the realm of historical explanation using the Sweet Briar archives. Each step in historical construction will be illustrated by short projects: locating sources, determining their contexts, analyzing sources with reference to their use as historical evidence, forming theory in response to evidence, and constructing narrative. Each student will combine these short projects to create a history of a topic of her choice. Offered alternate years. III.W, V.5

MATH 106

Statistical Reasoning
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisite: Not open to students who have received credit for MATH 205. An introduction to concepts and methods of data analysis. Graphical and numerical description of data. Normal distributions, confidence intervals, significance tests, correlation and linear regression. Use of statistical reasoning in such areas as opinion polling, government surveys, health risk assessment, behavioral research. III.Q

MATH 205

Applied Statistics
CR: 
3.0

Prerequisite or co-requisite: MATH 113, MATH 123, or BUSN 127; not open to students who have received credit for MATH 106. An introduction to data analysis and statistics. Descriptive statistics, random variables and their distributions, independence, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and linear regression. Applications in science, social sciences and economics. III.Q