Archaeological Studies

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

This 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 St., or to the director of undergraduate studies (DUS).

The major in Archaeological Studies provides a program of interdepartmental offerings covering prehistoric, early historic, medieval, and other 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 scientific. 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 term courses, including the senior project. In addition, students must participate in a Yale-affiliated summer research project, or that of another archaeological field school approved in advance by the DUS. 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 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, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Environmental Studies, History, History of Art, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Religious Studies. With the permission of the DUS, a course may be counted toward a subject area other than the one(s) under which it is listed. For three of the seven archaeology electives students may, with permission of the DUS, substitute courses from other departments in areas related to their research.

Field research In addition to being the base for several faculty field projects around the globe, the Council on Archaeological Studies takes as its principal mission the encouragement of multiple field experiences. Our undergraduate majors are required to participate in at least one intensive summer field school. Approval is required, and costs are often subsidized by the Council. Students are encouraged to participate in each other’s field projects, thereby learning about the greatest number of cultures and areas possible, while experiencing a diverse array of field situations. 

Students 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, Mongolia, Senegal, Armenia, and Italy. 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.


Students majoring in Archaeological Studies should consult with the DUS at the beginning of each term.


Prerequisites None

Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior project)

Specific course required ARCG 316L (intro lab)

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 and approved by the DUS

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

Senior requirement Research project (ARCG 491)

Archaeology is the study of the human past through examination and interpretation of artifacts and other material remains. The discipline covers the entire record of human cultural development, from the beginning of toolmaking to advanced civilizations. Courses in archaeology are taught by instructors in Anthropology, Classics, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Environmental Studies, History, History of Art, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Religious Studies.

Students who wish to major in Archaeological Studies are encouraged to take one of the 100-level courses and several of the 200-level courses listed below during their first and sophomore years. These core courses should be selected in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) or any member of the Archaeological Studies program. The design of students’ early core courses should provide a background in the theoretical and technical aspects of archaeology and an introduction to the archaeological remains of the world.

  • ARCG 001, Egypt and Northeast Africa: A Multidisciplinary Approach
  • ARCG 030, Inca Culture and Society
  • ARCG 031, Origins of Civilization: Egypt and Mesopotamia
  • ARCG 110, Introduction to the History of Art:  Global Decorative Arts
  • ARCG 128, Magic and Ritual in Ancient Egypt and the Near East
  • ARCG 161, Art and Myth in Greek Antiquity
  • ARCG 170, Roman Art: Empire, Identity, and Society
  • ARCG 171, Great Civilizations of the Ancient World
  • ARCG 172, Great Hoaxes and Fantasies in Archaeology
  • ARCG 200, Magnetism in Archaeology and Paleoanthropology
  • ARCG 215, Archaeology of China
  • ARCG 218, Ancient Ships and Maritime Archaeology
  • ARCG 221, Egyptomania
  • ARCG 222, Egyptian Religion through the Ages
  • ARCG 223, Lives in Ancient Egypt
  • ARCG 226, Global Environmental History
  • ARCG 228, The Anthropology of War
  • ARCG 232, Ancient Civilizations of the Andes
  • ARCG 233, Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica
  • ARCG 241, The Greek Nude and Ideals in Art
  • ARCG 242, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Techniques: Their Histories and Socio-Economic Implications
  • ARCG 243, Greek Art and Architecture
  • ARCG 244, The Age of Akhenaton
  • ARCG 245, Archaeology of Ancient Egypt: An Introduction
  • ARCG 246, Era of the Pyramids: Archaeology and Material Culture of the Old Kingdom, Egypt
  • ARCG 253, Introduction to Experimental Archaeology
  • ARCG 255, Inca Culture and Society
  • ARCG 261, The Archaeology of the Amarna Period in Egypt
  • ARCG 264, Aztec Archaeology and Ethnohistory
  • ARCG 267, Human Evolution
  • ARCG 271, Human Ecology
  • ARCG 272, African Prehistory 
  • ARCG 294, The Ancient Maya


Anthropology Richard Burger (Chair), Oswaldo Chinchilla, Ellery Frahm, William Honeychurch, Roderick McIntosh, Eric Sargis, Jessica Thompson, Anne Underhill, David Watts

Classics Andrew Johnston, Diana Kleiner (Emeritus)

Earth and Planetary Sciences Ronald Smith

History Joseph Manning

History of Art Edward Cooke, Jr., Milette Gaifman

Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations John Darnell, Karen Foster, Eckart Frahm, Gregory Marouard, Nadine Moeller, Harvey Weiss

Religious Studies Stephen Davis