Department of Archaeology
Archaeologists study people of the distant and recent past within the context of their own time and environment in order to understand their behavior, social and political organization, economy, arts and crafts, and ways of life. Archaeology is a global discipline with a deep and wide comparative perspective that draws on all types of material remains from simple stone tools to entire cities; on ephemeral and microscopic evidence derived from plants and soils; and, where possible, on written, graphic, and oral accounts. Archaeology is fundamentally interdisciplinary, combining social and natural sciences with humanistic pursuits. Department of Archaeology faculty are involved in a wide range of field projects around the world including North America, Mesoamerica, Europe and the countries of the Mediterranean basin, Africa, Turkey, the Levant, the Near East, and China. Students have a variety of opportunities to work closely with faculty on field projects and archaeological materials from many parts of the world.
Department courses provide global perspective, understanding of diverse cultures, and a long view of human history, broad interdisciplinary training that prepares students for graduate studies in archaeology as well as many other fields. Graduates in recent years have gone into such diverse areas as law, medicine, museology, and cultural resource management. A major or minor in archaeological studies provides particularly valuable preparation for graduate programs in historical and cultural studies and in certain special fields within the sciences.
Instructional and Research Facilities
Department facilities include teaching and research laboratories, seminar room, GIS computer facility, student lounge, and reference collection of artifacts and specimens kept in our Gabel Museum. Additional computer facilities and instructional/research equipment are available through the Center for Remote Sensing, the only such center in the world that emphasizes archaeological applications. The Journal of Field Archaeology is edited by a member of the department faculty. The International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History is located at 650 Beacon Street, and the headquarters of the Archaeological Institute of America, the American Journal of Archaeology, the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR), and the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) are located nearby at 656 Beacon Street in Kenmore Square.
In addition to archaeological materials in Mugar Memorial Library, there is an important collection of archaeology books and journals in the Stone Science Library, which primarily serves the Department of Archaeology and the Center for Remote Sensing. The collection is on the fourth floor, where reserve readings for advanced archaeology courses are housed along with computers, online catalogs, archaeology bibliography reference works, maps, and other archaeology reference materials.
The Boston University Archaeology Club, organized by undergraduate majors, offers opportunities for students to socialize, meet visiting scholars, visit museum collections, and learn about fieldwork opportunities. The club has regular meetings and is open to majors and nonmajors.