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), Mary Miller (History of Art), 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 Karen Foster (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations; History of Art), Ellery Frahm (Anthropology), Lucy Salazar (Anthropology), David Sensabaugh (Yale University Art Gallery), Catherine Skinner (Geology & Geophysics

The aims of the program are 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 allows 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; 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 531b / ANTH 531b / CLSS 815b / EALL 773b / HIST 502b / HSAR 564b / JDST 653b / NELC 533b / RLST 803b, Sensory Experiences in Ancient RitualCarolyn Laferriere and Andrew Turner

A comparative exploration of the role the senses played in the performance of ancient and premodern ritual, drawing from a range of ancient traditions including those of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, and from cultural traditions of the Near East, India, China, and the New World. Placing particular emphasis on the relationship between art and ritual, we discuss the methods available for reconstructing ancient sensory experience, how the ancient cultures conceived of the senses and perception, and how worshipers’ sensory experiences, whether visual, sonic, olfactory, gustatory, or haptic, were integral aspects in their engagement with the divine within religious ritual. This seminar incorporates material in the Yale Art Gallery.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

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 581a / CLSS 890a / HSAR 581a, Roman Painting: Achievement and LegacyDiana Kleiner

Roman mural painting in all its aspects and innovations. Individual scenes and complete ensembles in palaces, villas, and houses in Rome and Pompeii are explored, as are their rediscovery and revival in the Renaissance and neoclassical period. Special attention is paid to the four architectural styles; history and mythological painting; the impact of the theater; the part played by landscape, genre, and still life; the accidental survival of painted portraiture; and the discovery and rejection of trompe l’oeil illusionism and linear perspective.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ARCG 611a / CLSS 811a / NELC 611a / RLST 833a, The Ancient Egyptian Temple as Cosmos: Correlation of Architecture and Decoration ProgramChristina Geisen

The course focuses on the correlation of archaeology, iconography, and philology by analyzing ancient Egyptian temples under the specific consideration of the interplay of architecture and decoration program. The different types of temples and their developments over time are discussed. The main focus is the function of each temple type, which can only be understood by analyzing the architecture of the monument, its decoration program, related texts (such as rituals, myths, and festival description, but also historical texts), and its place in the cultic landscape of the specific location. The class also provides an overview of rituals performed and festivals celebrated in the temples, as well as of the administrative sphere of the temple. Optional field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to see the Temple of Dendur. No previous knowledge of ancient Egyptian culture or languages is necessary; all texts are read in translation.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ARCG 692b / ANTH 692b / NELC 537b, Imaging Ancient WorldsRoderick McIntosh, John Darnell, and Agnete Lassen

The interpretation of epigraphic and archaeological material within the broader context of landscape, by means of creating a virtual model to reconstruct the sensory experiences of the ancient peoples who created the sites. Use of new technologies in computer graphics, including 3-D imaging, to support current research in archaeology and anthropology.
W 9:25am-11:15am

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

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 718b / ANTH 718b, Archaeological Study of Craft SpecializationAnne Underhill

In this seminar we evaluate methods for investigating the nature of craft specialization in antiquity. We consider methods to identify material traces of production activities and insights gained from ethnoarchaeological and ethnohistoric data. Several types of craft production are included. Another component of the course is discussion of the theoretical significance of the nature of craft specialization.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

ARCG 743a / ANTH 743a, Archaeological Research Design and Proposal DevelopmentWilliam Honeychurch

An effective proposal requires close consideration of all steps of research design, from statement of the problem to data analysis. The course is designed to provide an introduction to the principles by which archaeological research projects are devised and proposed. Students receive intensive training in the preparation of a research proposal with the expectation that the final proposal will be submitted to national and international granting agencies for consideration. The course is structured around the creation of research questions; hypothesis development and statement of expectations; and the explicit linking of expectations to material patterning, field methods, and data analysis. Students review and critique examples of funded and nonfunded research proposals and comment extensively on each other's proposals. In addition to developing one's own research, learning to constructively critique the work of colleagues is imperative for becoming a responsible anthropological archaeologist.
F 9:25am-11:15am

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 754a / ANTH 754a, Statistics for Archaeological AnalysisWilliam Honeychurch

An introduction to quantitative data collection, analysis, and argumentation for archaeologists. Lectures, readings, and exercises emphasize the exploration, visualization, and analysis of specifically archaeological data using simple statistical approaches. No prior knowledge of statistics is required.
F 3:30pm-5:20pm

ARCG 755b / ANTH 755b, Inca Culture and SocietyRichard Burger

The history and organization of the Inca empire and its impact on the nations and cultures conquered by it. The role of archaeology in understanding the transformation of Andean lifeways is explored, as is the interplay between ethnohistoric and archaeological approaches to the subject.
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

ARCG 756a / ANTH 756a, The Archaeology of Trade and ExchangeRichard Burger

This seminar focuses on archaeological approaches to exchange and trade. As background, we review some of the principal theories of exchange from anthropology and sociology, such as those of Mauss, Malinowski, and Polanyi. The role of trade and exchange in different kinds of societies is examined by contextualizing these transactions within specific cultural configurations and considering the nature of production and consumption as they relate to movement of goods. We consider methods and models that have been used to analyze regions of interaction at different spatial scales and the theoretical arguments about the social impact of inter-regional and intra-regional interactions involving the transfer of goods, including approaches such as world systems, unequal development, and globalization. In addition, we examine the ways that have been utilized in archaeology to identify different kinds of exchange systems, often through analogies to well-documented ethnographic and historic cases. Finally, we consider the range of techniques that have been employed in order to track the movement of goods across space. These sourcing techniques are evaluated in terms of their advantages and disadvantages from an archaeological perspective, and in terms of how the best technical analyses may vary according to the nature of natural or cultural materials under consideration (ceramics, volcanic stone, metals, etc.). The theme for this year’s seminar is obsidian; students select some aspect of obsidian research for their final paper and presentation.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

ARCG 762b / F&ES 726b / G&G 562b, Observing Earth from SpaceXuhui Lee and Ronald Smith

A practical introduction to satellite image analysis of Earth’s surface. Topics include the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, satellite-borne radiometers, data transmission and storage, computer image analysis, the merging of satellite imagery with GIS and applications to weather and climate, oceanography, surficial geology, ecology and epidemiology, forestry, agriculture, archaeology, and watershed management.
TTh 9am-10:15am

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 776b / ANTH 776b, GIS and Spatial Analysis for ArchaeologyWilliam Honeychurch

Introduction to the practice of Geographical Information Systems in anthropology with attention to archaeological applications. The growing use of GIS among anthropologists has transformed the way we carry out research and conceive of space. The course draws on research examples from a range of theoretical, analytical, and geographical contexts and introduces students to current software. Emphasis is placed on understanding how anthropological archaeologists have employed GIS as part of generating evidence to assess their hypotheses.
F 3:30pm-5:20pm

ARCG 785a / ANTH 785a, 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 797b / ANTH 797b, Archaeology of East AsiaAnne Underhill

Introduction to the findings and practice of archaeology in China, Japan, Korea, and southeast Asia. Methods used by archaeologists to interpret social organization, economic organization, and ritual life. Attention to major transformations such as the initial peopling of an area, establishment of farming villages, the development of cities, interregional interactions, and the nature of political authority.
T 9:25am-11:15am

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