Program in 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. Archaeology faculty are involved in a wide range of field projects around the world. Students have a variety of opportunities to work closely with faculty on field projects and archaeological materials.

Archaeology courses provide global perspective, understanding of diverse cultures, and a long view of human history and heritage, 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 archaeology provides particularly valuable preparation for graduate programs in historical and cultural studies and in certain special fields within the sciences.

For additional information, visit the program website.

Instructional and Research Facilities

Program 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 Journal of Field Archaeology is edited by a member of the program faculty.

Formerly the International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History, now AsianARC in the Boston University Center for the Study of Asia, is located at 232 Bay State Road, Room 424.

In addition to books and journals in Mugar Memorial Library, there is an important collection in the Stone Science Library, which primarily serves the Program in 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 Society, organized by undergraduate majors, offers opportunities for students to socialize, meet visiting scholars, visit museum collections, and learn about fieldwork opportunities. The society has regular meetings and is open to majors and nonmajors.