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Introduction to Archaeology

Course Code: ANTH 1112
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Anthropology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course surveys the scope and goals of archaeology and the techniques used in the investigation of the human past. It also surveys the major stages of human cultural evolution, from earliest hunting and gathering societies to the emergence of complex urban civilizations.

Course Content

  1.  Introduction to Anthropology and Archaeology
    • The inter-relationship of the subfields of anthropology
    • The nature and goals of archaeology
  2. The Nature of Archaeological Data
    • Strengths and limitations of archaeological reconstructions of the past
  3. Archaeological Field Methods
  4. Analysis of Archaeological Data
  5. Techniques for Dating the Past
  6. Cultural Resource Management and Archaeology
  7. Reconstructing the Past – Experimental Archaeology and Ethnoarchaeology
  8. Development of Archaeology – Earliest Ideas of the Human Past to the Basics of Modern Archaeological Theory
  9. A Survey of World Prehistory
    • Hunting and gathering societies
    • The rise of agricultural societies and settled village life
    • The emergence of “civilizations”

Methods of Instruction

The course will be presented through lectures.  Videos and slides, along with artifacts and other archaeological materials will be used in class presentations.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

3 Exams
Each on 1/3 of the course material - 25% each   
1 Short Paper  15%
Take-home lab exercises   5%
Attendance and Participation   5%
Total 100%


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Discuss the contributions of archaeology to anthropology and related disciplines.
  2. Identify a variety of categories of archaeological data and assess how they have been used to understand the human past.
  3. Identify and assess a variety of field techniques used by archaeologists to investigate the human past.
  4. Identify the major techniques used to date objects from the prehistoric past, including the circumstances under which they can be used and the limitations inherent in each technique.
  5. Demonstrate some grasp of the changing theoretical framework under which the past is interpreted.
  6. Outline the major stages of human cultural evolution as understood through archaeology, including the key archaeological features associated with each stage.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.