Exploring the Past, Impacting the Future



At a Glance

There is only one way to truly learn archaeological methodology – by getting your hands dirty. This program merges classroom instruction of method and theory with hands-on original fieldwork and laboratory analysis. Archaeological fieldwork will take place at the oldest structure on the Brandeis campus – the c. 1737 Harrington House. 

In the classroom, students will learn fundamental archaeological concepts including research design, site survey, excavation, stratigraphy, seriation, as well as the collection, interpretation, synthesis, and presentation of data gathered in the field. From a broader perspective, this program will foster a learning environment where academic skills transferable across all disciplines will also be developed. Students will engage in regular classroom discussion and major assessments that will give them the opportunity to hone critical thinking, research, writing, and oral presentation proficiency.

The conceptual tool-kit learned in the classroom will be immediately applied in engaging field and laboratory settings. For the first four weeks students will conduct original archaeological fieldwork. First, participants will build upon an exciting body of data collected by Brandeis students during the first investigations of the Harrington House site in 2012. Instruction will follow with site survey and mapping and will then move towards excavation. During the second four weeks of the program, experiential exercises will shift to the laboratory where students will learn current museological techniques and standards that will allow them to properly wash, stabilize, catalog, and analyze artifacts that were excavated at the Harrington House. Once intellectual control over the collection has been achieved, students will engage in exercises that will lead to the interpretation of this material in its historical context and to consider issues of cultural heritage.

To complement classroom, field, and lab activities, throughout the program students will also participate in several off-campus trips. Sites may include Colonial burial grounds, a 17th century homestead, and a local archaeology museum. During each trip students will move beyond the role of tourists and instead participate in engaged learning exercises.

Courses:
ANTH 59aj Introduction to Archaeology
ANTH 60bj Archaeological Analysis
ANTH 60aj Archaeological Methods