Archaeological Studies

Director of undergraduate studies: Oswaldo Chinchilla, Rm. 301, 51 Hillhouse Ave., 436-5923,;


Anthropology Richard Burger (Chair), Oswaldo Chinchilla, William Honeychurch, Roderick McIntosh, Eric Sargis, Anne Underhill

Classics Milette Gaifman, Andrew Johnston, Diana Kleiner

Geology & Geophysics Ronald Smith

History Valerie Hansen

History of Art Edward Cooke, Jr., Mary Miller

Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations John Darnell, Karen Foster, Eckart Frahm, Colleen Manassa, Harvey Weiss

Religious Studies Stephen Davis

This special interdisciplinary major is supervised by the University's Council on Archaeological Studies. Inquiries about the major may be addressed to the chair of the council, Richard Burger, Department of Anthropology, 10 Sachem Street, or to the director of undergraduate studies.

The major in Archaeological Studies provides a program of interdepartmental offerings covering prehistoric, early historic, and medieval cultures and cultural developments in the Old and New Worlds, and introduces students to the analytic tools that facilitate archaeological studies. The major is designed to expose students to a variety of archaeological research perspectives: anthropological, historical, art historical, and physical science. Also emphasized are substantive studies including (1) study of such prehistoric–early historic transformations as the origins of agriculture, cities and states, and early empires, and (2) study of the material culture, art, and architecture of prehistoric, early historic, and medieval cultures, including the iconography of ancient cultures, the relationship between art and society, ancient writing systems, and American historical archaeology.

Requirements of the major The major consists of twelve courses, including the senior project. In addition, students must participate in a Yale-affiliated summer research project, or another archaeological field school approved in advance by the director of undergraduate studies. The following five courses are required: an introductory survey; the introductory laboratory course ARCG 316L; an advanced laboratory course; a theory course; and the senior research project ARCG 491. The remaining seven courses required for the major must be distributed among the six subject areas represented by the departments and programs offering courses multiple-titled with Archaeological Studies, with three of those seven courses falling in different departments and programs. The relevant departments and programs are Anthropology, Classics, Environmental Studies, Geology and Geophysics, History of Art, and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Some courses may be applied to categories other than the ones in which they are listed in this bulletin, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies. For three of the seven archaeology electives students may, with permission of the director of undergraduate studies, substitute three courses from other departments in areas related to their research.

Students majoring in Archaeological Studies are strongly encouraged, but are not required, to devote a second summer to archaeological research, either in the field or in a laboratory. Members of the Council faculty currently direct archaeological field projects in China, Egypt, Guatemala, Peru, Mali, Mongolia, Senegal, Syria, and Rome. Qualified majors are encouraged to apply for research positions with these projects.

Senior requirement The final requirement for the major is a senior research project (ARCG 491) in some field of archaeology, preferably one involving more than one area or discipline.

Advising Students majoring in Archaeological Studies should consult with the director of undergraduate studies at the beginning of each term.


Prerequisites None

Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior project)

Specific course required ARCG 316L

Distribution of courses 1 intro survey; 1 advanced lab; 1 theory course; 7 electives, at least 1 in each of 3 areas, as specified

Field requirement 1 summer field techniques course or research project, as specified

Substitution permitted For 3 electives, 3 courses related to research, with DUS permission

Senior requirement Research project (ARCG 491)


ARCG 171b / ANTH 171b, Great Civilizations of the Ancient World William Gardner

A survey of selected prehistoric and historical cultures through examination of archaeological sites and materials. Emphasis on the methodological and theoretical approaches by which archaeologists recover, analyze, and interpret the material remains of the past.  SO

ARCG 232a / ANTH 232a / LAST 232a, Ancient Civilizations of the Andes Richard Burger

Survey of the archaeological cultures of Peru and Bolivia from the earliest settlement through the late Inca state.  SO

ARCG 233b / ANTH 233b, Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

The Indian civilizations of Mexico and Central America from earliest times through the Spanish Conquest.  SO

ARCG 267b / ANTH 267b, Human Evolution David Watts

Examination of the fossil record of human evolution, including both paleontological and archaeological evidence for changes in hominid behavior during the Pleistocene. Prerequisite: Introductory course in biological anthropology or biology.  SO

ARCG 271b / ANTH 271b, Human Ecology Brian Wood

Introduction to ways in which people use and relate to their physical and social environments in both the past and the present. Adaptations underlying humanity's unique ecological niche; cultural diversity in subsistence and resource use; population growth and regulation; anthropogenic evolutionary and ecological change.  SO

ARCG 272b / AFST 272b / ANTH 272b, African Prehistory Roderick McIntosh

Survey of archaeological evidence for the original contributions of the African continent to the human condition. The unresolved issues of African prehistory, from the time of the first hominids, through development of food production and metallurgy, to the rise of states and cities.  SO

ARCG 316La / ANTH 316La, Introduction to Archaeological Laboratory Sciences 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.

* ARCG 372a / ANTH 372a, The Archaeology of Urbanism Anne Underhill and Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

Archaeological studies of ancient cities and urbanism. Topics include the origin and growth of cities; the economic, social, and political implications of urban life; and archaeological methods and theories for the study of ancient urbanism. Case studies include ancient cities around the world.   SO

* ARCG 375b / ANTH 375b / ARCG 379, Anthropology of Mobile Societies William Honeychurch

The social and cultural significance of the ways that hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads, maritime traders, and members of our own society traverse space. The impact of mobility and transport technologies on subsistence, trade, interaction, and warfare from the first horse riders of five thousand years ago to jet-propulsion tourists of today.  SO

* ARCG 385a / ANTH 385a, Archaeological Ceramics Anne Underhill

Archaeological methods for analyzing and interpreting ceramics, arguably the most common type of object found in ancient sites. Focus on what different aspects of ceramic vessels reveal about the people who made them and used them.  SO

* ARCG 417a / ANTH 417a, Maya Hieroglyphic Writing Oswaldo 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.  SO

ARCG 464b / ANTH 464b / E&EB 464b, Human Osteology Eric 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.  SC, SO


ARCG 161b / CLCV 161b / HSAR 247b, Art and Myth in Greek Antiquity Milette Gaifman

Visual exploration of Greek mythology through the study of ancient Greek art and architecture. Greek gods, heroes, and mythological scenes foundational to Western culture; the complex nature of Greek mythology; how art and architecture rendered myths ever present in ancient Greek daily experience; ways in which visual representations can articulate stories. Use of collections in the Yale University Art Gallery.  WR, HU

ARCG 170a / ARCG 250 / CLCV 170a / HSAR 250a, Roman Art: Empire, Identity, and Society Diana Kleiner

Masterpieces of Roman art from the Republic to Constantine studied in their historical and social contexts. The great Romans and the monuments they commissioned—portraits, triumphal arches, columns, and historical reliefs. The concept of empire and imperial identity, politics and portraiture, the making and unmaking of history through art, and the art of women, children, freedmen, and slaves.  HU

ARCG 241a / CLCV 241a / HSAR 241a / HUMS 226a, The Greek Nude and Ideals in Art Milette Gaifman

Survey of ancient Greek art, in particular, representation of the nude body from the seventh century B.C. through modernity. Masterpieces such as Discus Thrower and Venus de Milo, and Michelangelo’s David or Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, present fundamental distinctions between naturalism, realism, and idealism and the lasting impact of the Greek nude beyond antiquity. Focus on heroic nudity, the relationship between athleticism and visual arts, how male and female bodies are treated differently, and what constitutes ideal beauty. Use of collections in the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art.  HU

ARCG 252b / CLCV 175b / HSAR 252b, Roman Architecture Diana Kleiner

The great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire. Study of city planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. Emphasis on developments in Rome, Pompeii, and central Italy; survey of architecture in the provinces.  HU

* ARCG 424b / CLCV 230b / HSAR 424b, eClavdia: Women in Ancient Rome Diana Kleiner

The contributions of Roman women to one of the greatest cities—and one of the greatest empires—in world history. Lost stories of real-life Roman women recovered from public and residential buildings, portraits, paintings, and other works of Roman art and architecture.  HURP

Environmental Studies

ARCG 226b / EVST 226b, Global Environmental History Harvey Weiss

The dynamic relationship between environmental and social forces from the Pleistocene glaciations to the Anthropocene present. Pleistocene extinctions; transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture; origins of cities, states, and civilization; adaptations and collapses of Old and New World civilizations in the face of climate disasters; the destruction and reconstruction of the New World by the Old. Focus on issues of adaptation, resilience, and sustainability, including forces that caused long-term societal change.  SO

Geology and Geophysics

* ARCG 362b / EVST 362b / G&G 362b, Observing Earth from Space Xuhui Lee

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. Prerequisites: college-level physics or chemistry, two courses in geology and natural science of the environment or equivalents, and computer literacy.  QR, SC

History of Art

ARCG 110a / HSAR 110a, Introduction to the History of Art: Global Decorative Arts Edward Cooke

Global history of the decorative arts from antiquity to the present. The materials and techniques of ceramics, textiles, metals, furniture, and glass. Consideration of forms, imagery, decoration, and workmanship. Themes linking geography and time, such as trade and exchange, simulation, identity, and symbolic value.  HU

ARCG 237a / HSAR 237a / NELC 108a, Ancient Painting and Mosaics Karen Foster

Developments in wall painting, vase painting, and mosaics as seen in ancient Egypt, the Aegean Bronze Age, and the Greek, Etruscan, and Roman world.  HU

* ARCG 387b / ANTH 387b, East Asian Objects and Museums Anne Underhill

Exploration of East Asian art and anthropological collections at Yale’s museums and at other major museums in North America and East Asia. Through study of the pioneers who created these collections and the formation history of the collections, students consider the meaning and importance of contemporary museum practice. A student-curated exhibition in conjunction with Yale University Art Gallery. Trips to regional museums and attendance at Yale sponsored conference on Korean Art and Photograph Collections.  SO

Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

* ARCG 001a / AFST 001a / NELC 001a, Egypt and Northeast Africa: A Multidisciplinary Approach John Darnell

Examination of approximately 10,000 years of Nile Valley cultural history, with an introduction to the historical and archaeological study of Egypt and Nubia. Consideration of the Nile Valley as the meeting place of the cultures and societies of northeast Africa. Various written and visual sources are used, including the collections of the Peabody Museum and the Yale Art Gallery. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.

* ARCG 128b / EGYP 128b / RLST 251b, Magic and Ritual in Ancient Egypt John Darnell and Christina Geisen

Introduction to ancient Egyptian magic and rituals with an overview on the use of magic and discussion of the different rituals and festivals attested in Ancient Egypt.  none  WR, HU

ARCG 218b / NELC 191b, Ancient Ships and Maritime Archaeology Karen Foster

Introduction to the world of the ancient mariners, with special attention to new discoveries and interpretations.  HU, SO

ARCG 221b / AFST 221b / HSAR 234b / NELC 120b, Egyptomania John Darnell

Conceptual underpinnings of the use of ancient Egyptian motifs in architecture, painting, sculpture, and decorative arts throughout western Europe, the Middle East, and North America from antiquity to the present.  HU

ARCG 222a / AFST 112a / NELC 112a / RLST 141a, Egyptian Religion through the Ages John Darnell

Diachronic approach to topics in Egyptian religion. Religious architecture, evidence for protodynastic cults, foreigners in Egyptian religious celebrations, music and vocal expression in Egyptian religion, Re and Osiris, the Amarna interlude and the Ramesside solar religion, and the goddess of the eye of the sun. Readings in translation.  HU

Advanced Research Courses

* ARCG 471a and ARCG 472b, Directed Reading and Research in Archaeology Staff

Qualified students may pursue special reading or research under the guidance of an instructor. A written statement of the proposed research must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies for approval.

* ARCG 491a or b, Senior Research Project in Archaeology Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

Required of all students majoring in Archaeological Studies. Supervised investigation of some archaeological topic in depth. The course requirement is a long essay to be submitted as the student's senior essay. The student should present a prospectus and bibliography to the director of undergraduate studies no later than the third week of the term. Written approval from the faculty member who will direct the reading and writing for the course must accompany the prospectus.