Archaeological Studies

10 Sachem Street, 203.432.3670

Chair and Director of Graduate Studies
Richard Burger (Anthropology)

Professors Richard Burger (Anthropology), Edward Cooke, Jr. (History of Art; American Studies), John Darnell (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Stephen Davis (Religious Studies; History), Eckart Frahm (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations), Diana Kleiner (Classics; History of Art), J.G. Manning (Classics; History), Roderick McIntosh (Anthropology), Eric Sargis (Anthropology; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), Ronald Smith (Geology & Geophysics; Forestry & Environmental Studies), Anne Underhill (Anthropology), David Watts (Anthropology), Harvey Weiss (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations; Forestry & Environmental Studies)

Associate Professors Oswaldo Chinchilla (Anthropology), Milette Gaifman (History of Art; Classics), William Honeychurch (Anthropology), Andrew Johnston (Classics; History)

Lecturers, Research Associates, and Research Scientists Ellery Frahm (Anthropology), Lucy Salazar (Anthropology), Catherine Skinner (Geology & Geophysics

The aim of the program is to give students the academic background needed for careers in museums, cultural resource management, and teaching in community colleges and secondary schools. It also provides the opportunity for teachers, curators, and administrators to refresh themselves on recent developments in archaeology. In addition, the program enables some of our students to strengthen their background in archaeology before applying to Ph.D. programs. The program is administered by Yale’s Council on Archaeological Studies, with faculty from the departments of Anthropology, Classics, Geology & Geophysics, History, History of Art, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, and Religious Studies.

Special Admissions Requirements

The GRE General Test is optional. (If scores are submitted, they will be taken into consideration.) An archaeology background is recommended but not required.

Special Requirements for the M.A. Degree

Courses are drawn from the graduate programs of the participating departments and from those undergraduate courses that are also open to graduate students. Eight courses are required. Unless previously taken for credit, these will include the archaeological laboratory overview; at least one additional laboratory course; a course related to archaeology in two of the following three groups: (1) Anthropology; (2) Classics, History, History of Art, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, or Religious Studies; (3) Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Forestry & Environmental Studies, or Geology & Geophysics; and four electives. All students are required to participate in an approved summer field project. In addition, each student will write a master’s thesis. Degree candidates are required to pay a minimum of one year of full tuition. Full-time students can complete the course requirements in one academic year, and all students are expected to complete the program within a maximum period of three academic years.

For further information, visit the Archaeological Studies website, Inquiries may be directed to Director of Graduate Studies, c/o Registrar, Archaeological Studies, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, PO Box 208277, New Haven CT 06520-8277, or via e-mail,


ARCG 528a / ANTH 528a / EGYP 528a, Magic and Ritual in Ancient Egypt and the Near EastJohn Darnell

Introduction to ancient Egyptian and Near East magic and rituals with an overview on the use of magic and discussion of the different rituals and festivals.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ARCG 559b / ANTH 559b, Introduction to Experimental ArchaeologyRoderick McIntosh and Ellery Frahm

Experimental archaeology is one of the most important tools to develop and test models that link human behaviors and natural forces to the archaeological record. This class explores the elements of good experimental design and procedures.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

ARCG 716La / ANTH 716La, Introduction to Archaeological Laboratory SciencesEllery Frahm and Roderick McIntosh

Introduction to techniques of archaeological laboratory analysis, with quantitative data styles and statistics appropriate to each. Topics include dating of artifacts, sourcing of ancient materials, remote sensing, and microscopic and biochemical analysis. Specific techniques covered vary from year to year.
W 2:30pm-5:30pm

ARCG 717a / ANTH 717a, Ancient Maya WritingOswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

Introduction to the ancient Maya writing system. Contents of the extant corpus, including nametags, royal and ritual commemorations, dynastic and political subjects, and religious and augural subjects; principles and methods of decipherment; overview of the Maya calendar; comparison with related writing systems in Mesoamerica and elsewhere in the ancient world.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ARCG 744a, The Age of AkhenatonJohn Darnell

Study of the period of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton (reigned 1353–1336 B.C.E.), often termed the Amarna Revolution, from historical, literary, religious, artistic, and archaeological perspectives. Consideration of the wider Egyptian, ancient Near Eastern, African, and Mediterranean contexts. Examination of the international diplomacy, solar theology, and artistic developments of the period. Reading of primary source material in translation.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

ARCG 749a / CLSS 846a / HSAR 570a, Becoming Hadrian: Autobiography and Art in the Second-Century A.D.Diana Kleiner

Marguerite Yourcenar’s famed fictional Memoirs of Hadrian serves as the starting point for an exploration of Hadrian and the art he commissioned in Rome and abroad. Hadrian’s passion for life, quest after peace, romantic wanderlust, veneration of Greek culture, and craving for love, along with his acceptance of death’s inexorableness, led him to commission some of Rome’s greatest monuments. The emperor’s flair for leadership and talent as an amateur architect inform student projects on the sculpture, mosaics, and buildings of the age, among them the portraiture of Hadrian’s lover Antinous, the Pantheon, and Hadrian’s Wall in Britain. Qualified undergraduates who have taken HSAR 250a and/or HSAR 252a may be admitted with permission of the instructor.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ARCG 750a / ANTH 750a, Analysis of Lithic TechnologyOswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

This course provides an introduction to the analysis of the chipped and ground stone tools found on archaeological sites. As a laboratory course, it includes hands-on instruction: we learn how to manufacture chipped stone tools out of obsidian. We begin by reviewing the development of chipped and ground stone tool technology from the earliest simple pebble tools to historical period tools. We discuss the relevance of lithics research to issues of subsistence, craft specialization, and trade. We also discuss how these artifacts are recorded, analyzed, and drawn, and we review related studies such as sourcing and use-wear analysis.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

ARCG 769a / AMST 716a / ANTH 769a / HSAR 716a, Landscapes of Meaning: Museums and Their ObjectsAnne Underhill, Lisa Brody, and Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye

This seminar explores how museums convey various meanings about ethnographic, art, and archaeological objects through the processes of collecting, preparing exhibitions, and conducting research. Participants also discuss broader theoretical and methodological issues such as the roles of museums in society, relationships with source communities, management of cultural heritage, and various specializations valuable for careers in art, natural history, anthropology, history, and other museums.
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

ARCG 771a / ANTH 771a, Early Complex SocietiesRichard Burger

A consideration of theories and methods developed by archaeologists to recognize and understand complex societies in prehistory. Topics include the nature of social differentiation and stratification as applied in archaeological interpretation; emergence of complex societies in human history; case studies of societies known ethnographically and archaeologically.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

ARCG 773b / ANTH 773b / NELC 588b, Climate Change, Societal Collapse, and ResilienceHarvey Weiss

Collapse documented in the archaeological and early historical records of the Old and New Worlds, including Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Europe. Analysis of politicoeconomic vulnerabilities, resiliencies, and adaptations in the face of abrupt climate change, anthropogenic environmental degradation, resource depletion, “barbarian” incursions, or class conflict.
Th 4pm-5:50pm

ARCG 780a / ANTH 780a, Archaeology of ReligionRichard Burger

The course explores archaeological approaches to the study of religion. While the term “religion” is hard to define, it is generally agreed that religious phenomena occur in almost all cultures and that this realm played a significant part in most prehistoric cultures. In order to provide a broad vision of this theme, the course begins by considering influential schools of thought on the definition, origins, and social significance of religious behavior. The course then reviews a variety of methods that scholars may use to reconstruct ancient beliefs and rituals. The course assesses the applicability and success of these methodologies across the broad spectrum of ancient cultures representing differing degrees of sociopolitical complexity. Finally, we explore case studies from a diverse range of ancient societies and consider the impact of religious behaviors within their broader cultural contexts.
T 9:25am-11:15am

ARCG 785b / ANTH 785b, Archaeological Ceramics IAnne Underhill

Ceramics are a rich source of information about a range of topics including ancient technology, cooking practices, craft specialization, regional trade, and religious beliefs. This course provides a foundation for investigating such topics and gaining practical experience in archaeological analysis of ceramics. Students have opportunities to focus on ceramics of particular interest to them, whether these are low-fired earthen wares, or porcelains. We discuss ancient pottery production and use made in diverse contexts ranging from households in villages to workshops in cities. In addition we refer to the abundant ethnoarchaeological data about traditional pottery production.
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

ARCG 864b / ANTH 864b, Human OsteologyEric Sargis

A lecture and laboratory course focusing on the characteristics of the human skeleton and its use in studies of functional morphology, paleodemography, and paleopathology. Laboratories familiarize students with skeletal parts; lectures focus on the nature of bone tissue, its biomechanical modification, sexing, aging, and interpretation of lesions.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm