Program in Archaeology



  • Branko Glisic

Executive Committee

  • Nathan T. Arrington, Art and Archaeology
  • Patricia Blessing, Art and Archaeology
  • Caroline Cheung, Classics
  • Samuel Holzman, Art and Archaeology
  • Elizabeth Niespolo, Geosciences
  • Marina Rustow, Near Eastern Studies
  • Frederik J. Simons, Geosciences
  • Deborah A. Vischak, Art and Archaeology

Sits with Committee

  • Peter I. Bogucki
  • Janet E. Kay
For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Program Information

The Program in Archaeology is designed to provide students with an interdisciplinary foundation in archaeology—the study of the material remains of the past—and to equip students to use archaeological evidence in other fields of inquiry. The program offers courses that cover many cultures and periods, including Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Rome, and the Americas. It encourages a deep integration of the humanities, the sciences, and the engineering, and promotes the awareness of issues of cultural heritage. 

Once a subfield of ancient art or ancient history, archaeology today embraces anthropological approaches as well as the physical and social sciences. Technology has transformed the practice of archaeology, with tools such as ground-penetrating radar (GPR), geographic information system (GIS), and photogrammetry offering new insights. Yet archaeology is not just concerned with uncovering and understanding the past; it is also devoted to protecting it. Rampant looting and the destruction of sites have placed archaeologists at the forefront of discussions on cultural heritage. Many of the program courses, therefore, including the required methods course (ART 401), highlight ethical and political dimensions of archaeology.


The program is open to all majors. Students ideally should apply to the program during their sophomore year, but may join it at any time during their undergraduate career. They may apply through the Art & Archaeology website, or by writing to the program director.

In order to gain admission, a student must have taken any one of the courses offered by the program (see list below). Appropriate Freshman Seminars or Writing Seminars may fulfill the requirement, with the program director's approval.

Program of Study

The program aims to provide a broad introduction to the field of archaeology and to allow students to pursue archaeological interests that complement their research in other disciplines. The core course and fieldwork requirement ensure breadth and provide a theoretical and methodological foundation for further study. The remaining courses should be selected in consultation with the program director and students' department advisers, so that students may tailor their study. 

The plan of study consists of four elements: one core course, fieldwork or its equivalent, four additional courses, and independent research. One course may be taken PDF, with the exception of ART 401. Students can double-count up to two courses toward the certificate and their major.

1. Students take one core course: ART 401: Introduction to Archaeology.

2. Students participate in fieldwork: ART 304: Archaeology in the Field or its equivalent.

“Fieldwork” is not limited to excavation, although the program strongly encourages participation in a formal field school program. Sustained engagement in any aspect of an archaeological project fulfills the obligation. Students may, for example, assist in a geophysical survey, participate in a surface survey, work in archaeological archives, or intern for a zoologist. Fieldwork must be preapproved by the program director and last at least a month. Financial support for fieldwork is available. 

3. Students take an additional four courses. At least two must be offered in the Department of Art and Archaeology in the ancient area (the “Group 1” for the History of Art majors), and at least one must be a course outside of the Department of Art and Archaeology (see the list below). Approved Freshman Seminars may count toward the four courses. A Freshman Seminar taught by a faculty member in the Department of Art and Archaeology may not count for the required course outside of the department. 

4. Students undertake independent research, which may take one of three forms: (1) a senior thesis with a substantial archaeological component; (2) a junior paper on an archaeological topic; or (3) a 25-page research paper on an archaeological topic. Only senior theses are eligible for the Frederick Barnard White Prize in Archaeology.


The acquisition of languages that may assist in research (e.g., German or French) or in fieldwork is strongly recommended, but not required. 

Study Abroad

The fieldwork requirement offers an ideal opportunity for students to participate in summer study abroad, and the executive committee can recommend many summer study opportunities. 

Certificate of Proficiency

A student who completes the requirements of the program with satisfactory standing receives a certificate of proficiency in archaeology.

Courses (most of the following are cross-listed)

Note that courses presented below might not be offered every year. Please consult the Registrar's website ( to learn which courses are offered in the semester of interest.

ANT 201 Introduction to Anthropology

ANT 206 Human Evolution

ANT 300 Ethnography, Evidence and Experience

ANT 308 Forensic Anthropology

ANT 374 Bioarchaeology of the Peoples of the Past

ANT 390 History of Anthropological Theory

ANT 422 Death, Aging and Mortality: Cultural and Biosocial Perspectives

ANT 455 The Anthropology of Ruins


ART 103 Art of the Americas: The First 5,000 Years

ART 200 The Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East and Egypt

ART 201 Roman Architecture

ART 204 Greek Archaeology: The Classical Period

ART 266 Introduction to Pre-Columbian Art

ART 267 Mesoamerican Art

ART 289 Art and Archaeology in Cleopatra's Multicultural Egypt

ART 290 The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt

ART 296 The Foundations of Civilization

ART 300 Greek Archaeology of the Bronze Age

ART 301 Art of the Iron Age: The Near East and Early Greece 

ART 304 Archaeology in the Field 

ART 306 Classical Athens: Art and Institutions

ART 308 Roman Cities and Countryside: Republic to Empire

ART 361 The Art and Archaeology of Plague

ART 365 Olmec Art

ART 367 Inca Art and Architecture

ART 395 The Ancient Egyptian Body

ART 401 Introduction to Archaeology

ART 402 Ethics in Archaeology 

ART 409 The Archaeology of Jerusalem

ART 418 Antioch through the Ages: Archaeology and History

ART 419 Theory, History, and Practice of Textile: The Andes

ART 473 Kongo Art

ART 481 Egyptian Architecture: The Monumental Landscape


CLA 548 Problems in Ancient History—Numismatics


FRS 126/129 Contact: The Archaeology of Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean

FRS 187 Earth's Environments and Ancient Civilizations


GEO 102 Climate: Past, Present and Future

GEO 103 Natural Disasters

GEO 203 Fundamentals of Solid Earth Science

GEO 362 Earth History

GEO 365 Evolution and Catastrophes

GEO 370 Sedimentology

GEO 378 Mineralogy


HIS 476 The Vikings: History and Archaeology


HUM 350 Battle Lab: The Battle of Princeton

HUM 417 Historical Structures: Ancient Architecture's Materials, Construction, and Engineering