Archaeologists study people of the distant and recent past through material evidence in order to understand their behavior, social and political organization, economy, diet, arts, and ways of life. Archaeology is a global discipline with a deep and wide comparative perspective that draws on methods from many disciplines, from biology and physics to art history and ancient languages. We study all types of material remains, from simple stone tools to entire cities, microscopic evidence derived from plants to the bones of animals, and, where possible, draw on written and oral accounts and visual evidence. Archaeology is fundamentally interdisciplinary, combining the social and natural sciences with the humanities. Our faculty are involved in a wide range of field projects around the world and students have a variety of opportunities to work closely with faculty on field projects and the laboratory analysis of archaeological materials in Boston.
Archaeology courses offer a global and deep time perspective to understanding the diversity of human cultures and history. Our courses prepare students for graduate studies in archaeology but also many other fields, from public policy and law to marine biology and medicine. Alumni can be found working in archaeology in a variety of contexts: academia, state and federal agencies, museums, consulting, and cultural resource management. A major or minor in archaeology provides critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that are valuable preparation for both professional careers and graduate studies.
Major & Minor
The Archaeology Program offers a BA and Minor in Archaeology, and cosponsors the joint major in Classics & Archaeology.
Students who declare a major in Archaeology can also apply for the BA/MA, which requires an additional year of coursework—four years of coursework for the BA and one year of coursework for the MA, for a total of five years.
Instructional and Research Facilities
Our facilities include a Geographic Information System computer lab (the Geospatial Lab), teaching laboratories, and two research laboratories: the Environmental Archaeology Lab and Zooarchaeology Lab. The Gabel Museum of Archaeology houses artifacts used in teaching, research, public outreach, and presentations in local public schools.
Faculty members edit journals whose editorial offices are in our quarters, chiefly the Journal of Field Archaeology and the online Levantine Ceramics Project. We also host the Society of Ethnobiology. We are affiliated with the BU Center for Remote Sensing.
The Stone Science Library houses an important collection of reserved readings for archaeology courses, maps, and other archaeology reference materials that primarily serve the Archaeology Program and the Center for Remote Sensing.
The Archaeology Society, organized by undergraduate majors, offers opportunities for students to socialize, meet visiting scholars, visit museums, attend workshops, and learn about fieldwork opportunities. The society has regular meetings and is open to majors and nonmajors.