Archaeology and the Ancient World

The concentration in Archaeology and the Ancient World provides an opportunity to explore the multi-faceted discipline of archaeology while examining the critical early civilizations of the so-called ‘Old World’– that is, the complex societies of the Mediterranean, Egypt, and Ancient Western Asia. Students will learn about the art, architecture, and material culture of the ancient world, exploring things of beauty and power, as well as the world of the everyday. Concentrators will also learn "how to do" archaeology - the techniques of locating, retrieving and analyzing ancient remains - and consider how material culture shapes our understanding of the past. Concentrators are encouraged to pursue research opportunities through summer fieldwork, museum experience, or independent study projects.

The concentration, with its three distinct but overlapping tracks, is intended to allow students flexibility in structuring their own path through this diverse field of study. The concentration is also designed to allow students to build progressively upon what they have learned, moving from introductory courses to upper level seminars.

The three tracks are: Archaeology and the Ancient World; Classical Archaeology; and Egyptian and Ancient Western Asian Archaeology. Archaeology and the Ancient World is the most exploratory of the concentration tracks, and this option emphasizes material culture studies across the full spectrum of the ancient world. Classical Archaeology is intended for those interested chiefly in the ‘classic’ civilizations of the Mediterranean (Greece and Rome), as well as for those interested in both earlier (prehistoric) and later (medieval) periods in that geographic region. Egyptian and Ancient Western Asian Archaeology is intended for those interested chiefly in the cultures of Egypt and the ancient ‘Near East’ (Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia), from prehistoric through Islamic times.

Required Courses:

The student must take a total of 10 courses, including:

Core Requirements:
One introductory course in archaeological methodology, history and/or theoretical approaches, for example:1
Field Archaeology in the Ancient World
The Archaeology of College Hill
One introductory course in the methodology, history and/or theoretical approaches of ancient art history, for example:1
Art in Antiquity: An Introduction
Introduction to Egyptian Archaeology and Art
Archaeologies of the Greek Past
Roman Archaeology and Art
Two cognate courses, not listed primarily by the Joukowsky Institute, which EITHER relate to the study of the ancient world OR to the discipline of archaeology. Outside courses are chosen with the approval of the concentration advisor from appropriate 1000-level (or above) offerings in other departments such as, but not limited to: Anthropology, Classics, Early Cultures, Egyptology and Assyriology, Environmental Studies, Geological Sciences, History, History of Art and Architecture, Religious Studies. One term of language study, in any ancient language, may also be counted toward this requirement.2
Track Requirements:6
Archaeology and the Ancient World:
Two courses in Egyptian or Near Eastern archaeology and art. 1
Two courses in Mediterranean (prehistoric, Greek, Roman, medieval) archaeology and art. 1
Two additional courses, in EITHER Mediterranean (prehistoric, Greek, Roman, medieval) archaeology OR Egyptian or Near Eastern archaeology and art, at or above the 1000-level.
Classical Archaeology:
One course in Egyptian or Near Eastern archaeology and art.
Three courses in Mediterranean (prehistoric, Greek, Roman, medieval) archaeology and art, at least two of which must be at or above the 1000-level.
One course in ancient Greek or Roman history, for example:
The History of Greece from Archaic Times to the Death of Alexander
The Fall of Empires and Rise of Kings: Greek History 479 to 323 BC
Roman History I: The Rise and Fall of an Imperial Republic
Roman History II: The Roman Empire and Its Impact
One course in either Ancient Greek or Latin, at a level beyond the first year of study, for example:
Introduction to Greek Literature
Introduction to Latin Literature
Egyptian and Ancient Western Asian Archaeology:
One course in Mediterranean (Bronze Age, Greek, or Roman) archaeology and art.
Three courses in Egyptian or Near Eastern archaeology and art, at least two of which must be at or above the 1000-level.
Two terms of course work in a pertinent ancient language (e.g. Aramaic, Akkadian, Coptic, Classical Hebrew, Middle Egyptian).
Total Credits10

At least two of the courses selected to satisfy these requirements must be at or above the 1000-level.

Capstone Experience and Study Abroad

For each of the tracks, a capstone experience may be substituted for one of these required courses. With the permission of the concentration advisor, up to three successfully completed courses, from relevant and accredited study abroad programs, may be counted towards the concentration requirements.

Honors Concentrations

An Honors concentration in any of these tracks requires the successful completion of all the standard requirements with the addition of an Honors thesis. For the preparation of this thesis, students will ordinarily enroll in ARCH 1970 during the first semester of the senior year and ARCH 1990 during the second semester of the senior year (these courses may not be taken S/NC, nor may they be used to satisfy the standard requirements of the concentration). In order to qualify for honors, students must have received more A’s than B’s in concentration courses completed.

Honors concentrations are recommended for students considering graduate work in the discipline of archaeology. Any student interested in a course of graduate study should speak to the undergraduate concentration advisor as soon as possible, not least for advice about additional forms of preparation. Graduate work in the archaeology of the ancient world, for example, requires knowledge of appropriate ancient, as well as modern, languages. Students should start work on acquiring these skills as early as possible.

The Honors Thesis

The Honors thesis is an extended essay, usually of between 40 and 60 pages in length, written under the supervision of a faculty advisor and second reader. (Where appropriate, the advisor or the reader, but not both of them, may be in a unit other than the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World.) The specific topic and approach of the thesis are worked out between the student and the thesis advisor, with assistance from the student's second reader. This process should begin in the latter part of the student's junior year. Details on deadlines for a thesis prospectus, for thesis drafts and for a final public presentation of the work are available on request to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The completed thesis will be evaluated by the advisor and second reader, who will discuss its strengths and weaknesses with the student; they will also agree a grade for  ARCH 1990.


The Director of Undergraduate Studies will review the student’s overall record, in addition to the thesis evaluations. If all requirements have been successfully met, the recommendation will be made that the student graduates with Honors.