Anthropological archaeology studies material culture—artifacts, architecture, activity areas, and landscapes—produced by humans in order to understand past lifeways. Archaeology encompasses societies with written records, both recent and ancient (Montana mining towns and Pompeii) as well as societies whose only record are the objects they made and the places they modified (Native American prehistoric buffalo "jumps" in Montana and two million year old African tool scatters). Archaeologists are interested in answering cultural and social questions, both specific (How do ceramic dinner plate choices reflect social class in 19th century households?) and sweeping (Why did societies around the world take up agriculture about 10,000 years ago?). Archaeologists study people through artifacts; we do not study fossils unless they are associated with people. So, if you're interested in dinosaurs, don't ask an archaeologist!

The Department of Anthropology offers many ways to learn about archaeology, experience archaeology, and train to be an archaeologist. We have a well-rounded program with a focus on North America. Archaeology courses at the 200 and 300 level do not have prerequisites; all interested students are welcome. Anthropology undergraduates interested in specializing can earn an option in archaeology. During summer session, the Department often offers one or more field schools that represent an excellent opportunity to learn archaeological methods.


A student must complete all general requirements for the major, including:

  • 9 credits in core courses, one in each of the following three groups:
    • Area: ANTY 351H, 352X, 353, 354H, 465X, 451, 457, 459.
    • Theory: ANTY 450, 456, 458.
    • Methods: ANTY 454, 455, 466, 467, or any archaeological field school,
  • 6 credits in one of the following allied disciplines: biology, geography, geosciences; and
  • 6 credits in one of the following allied disciplines: computer sciences, environmental sciences, forestry, history, mathematical sciences, or Native American studies.