Curriculum in Archaeology

108 Alumni Building, CB# 3120; (919) 962-6574



The undergraduate major in archaeology focuses on the systematic study of the human past through its material remains by means of the excavation, recovery, and interpretation of artifacts and other associated evidence. Historical, environmental, and comparative components enable the examination of different culture systems through time and space, as well as the reconstruction of past lifeways and the interpretation of ancient social, political, and economic systems. The geographic scope of the program includes the Americas, Europe and the Mediterranean, Egypt, and the Near East. The educational goal of the program is to provide the student with a component of a liberal arts education that draws on both the social sciences and the humanities. It also will effectively prepare students for graduate study in anthropological archaeology, Mediterranean archaeology, museology, and historical preservation, or careers in contract archaeology and cultural resource management. Students interested in applying to graduate programs in Mediterranean or Near Eastern archaeology may need ancient language classes not required for the major. Students should consult a faculty advisor in archaeology if they have questions.

Archaeology Major, B.A.

Core Requirements

Additional Requirements

Subject to the approval of the advisor for the major, students may count graduate seminars towards fulfillment of their comparative perspectives, long-term history, and topics in archaeology or electives requirements. Also subject to the approval of the archaeology major advisor, field schools sponsored by Study Abroad or other universities may be used to fulfill the archaeological practice field experience requirement.

Archaeology Minor

The minor consists of five courses: two core courses (no more than one of which can be a field school), one comparative course, one area-studies course, and one topical course. The courses used to satisfy these requirements must come from at least two departments. Three of the courses used to fulfill the minor's requirements must be numbered 200 or above and come from two different divisions. (AMST, CLAR, CLAS, LING, and RELI courses are in the Division of the Humanities; ANTH and ARCH courses are in the Division of the Social and Behavioral Sciences.) At least one of the courses used to fulfill the minor's requirements must be numbered 300 or above.

The minor in archaeology draws on a number of disciplines and departments–principally anthropology, classics, and art–in the study of the ancient world, the reconstruction of past lifeways, and the interpretation of ancient social, political, and economic systems.

The minor helps prepare students for graduate study in anthropological archaeology, classical archaeology, cultural resource management, and historical preservation. It also provides any student with a strong intellectual interest in archaeology with a structured introduction to this field. Students interested in the minor in archaeology may contact Director of Undergraduate Studies Margaret Scarry and consult the Web site:


All majors and minors have a primary academic advisor in Steele Building. Students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with their advisor and review their Tar Heel Tracker each semester. The curriculum's director of undergraduate studies (see "Contact Information" below) works with current and prospective majors and minors by appointment. Students are encouraged to consult with the director of undergraduate studies about course choices and field work opportunities. Curriculum academic advising is particularly important for those majors who are considering going on to graduate school. Further information on courses, undergraduate research opportunities, and the honors program may be obtained from the curriculum's Web site.

Special Opportunities in Archaeology

Honors in Archaeology

Students with a grade point average of 3.3 or higher are eligible to pursue a degree with honors. A student who wishes to take this track should identify and contact a faculty thesis advisor before the end of the junior year. During the senior year the student enrolls in a two-semester course sequence, ARCH 691H and 692H, which provides the opportunity to carry out an independent research project and write a thesis under the direction of the faculty advisor. Prior to registering for the honors courses, the student and faculty mentor must fill out a contract and have it signed by the curriculum's director of undergraduate studies. The thesis is evaluated by a committee consisting of the advisor and two readers. The advisor and at least one reader must be members of the Curriculum in Archaeology's faculty. A student who successfully completes the thesis may be awarded honors or highest honors by the committee. Highest honors is awarded only in cases where the thesis is judged to be exceptional in comparison to other such works.

Research Laboratories of Archaeology

Founded in 1939, the Research Laboratories of Archaeology (RLA) was the first center for the study of North Carolina archaeology. Serving the interests of students, scholars, and the general public, it is currently one of the leading institutes for archaeological teaching and research in the South. Located within the College of Arts and Sciences, it provides support and research opportunities for UNC–Chapel Hill students working not only in North Carolina but also throughout the Americas and overseas.

Duke–UNC Consortium for Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology (CCMA)

The Duke–UNC Consortium for Classical and Mediterranean Archaeology represents a collaboration between the institutions in order to enhance archaeology curricula and concentrations in the respective departments and programs in archaeology. The consortium fosters an interdisciplinary dialogue on methods, theory, and practice in classical archaeology and material culture, providing students access to coursework, seminars, excavations, and other research opportunities; academic advising; and avenues for curricular and extracurricular interaction.

Experiential Education

The development of skills and perspectives beyond the classroom is considered central to the curriculum in archaeology. Hands-on training in field archeology provides students with the basic tools not only necessary for graduate training and advanced research in archaeology, but also for careers in cultural resource and heritage management through government agencies, contract firms, and museums. Developing an understanding of context and physical environment in archaeology requires field and laboratory experiences that are impossible to teach effectively in the classroom. Excavation and laboratory experiences allow students to participate directly in faculty research and to learn firsthand important aspects of the research process. Two or more field schools in archaeology are generally offered during summer sessions through the Study Abroad Office by faculty from the departments of anthropology, classics, religious studies, and history. In addition, many faculty research associates offer laboratory experiences through independent study projects and internships. These field work and laboratory experiences are designed to enhance the classroom training, allowing students to work as assistants to field archaeologists and specialists–such as surveyors, archaeological architects, palaeoethnobotanists, zooarchaeologists, biological anthropologists, and geomorphologists–learning firsthand various aspects of data recovery, processing, and interpretation associated with archaeological field projects.

Graduate School and Career Opportunities

The undergraduate curriculum in archaeology prepares majors for specialized graduate study in archaeology and cognate fields. The specific area of graduate study will depend on the fields of concentration of major, minor, and supporting coursework. Graduating majors (and double majors and minors) may pursue degree programs and careers in fields such as anthropology, Latin American studies, classical and medieval archaeology, Egyptology and ancient Near Eastern archaeology, art history, ancient history, and linguistics. Provided with a well-rounded undergraduate degree in the liberal arts, graduating students may pursue professional and graduate programs in diverse fields of the humanities and social sciences, utilizing their skills in various professions such as field archaeology (professional or contract archaeology), museology, conservation and historical preservation, cultural resource and heritage management, and teaching. Career resources as well as a list of former graduates and their careers are available on the curriculum's Web site at


Adjunct Professors

R.P. Stephen Davis Jr., Donald C. Haggis, Dale L. Hutchinson, Jodi Magness, Patricia M. McAnany, G. Kenneth Sams, C. Margaret Scarry, Vincas P. Steponaitis, Silvia Tomášková.

Adjunct Associate Professors

Brian Billman, David Mora-Marín, Brett H. Riggs, John F. Scarry.

Adjunct Assistant Professors

Anna Agbe-Davies, Benjamin Arbuckle, Jennifer Gates-Foster, Laurie Cameron Steponaitis.

Research Associate Professor

Scott Madry.

Research Assistant Professor

John Pleasants.

Professors Emeriti

Carole L. Crumley, Mary C. Sturgeon.

Contact Information

Professor V. Steponaitis, Chair, 108 Alumni Building, (919) 962-6574,

Professor C.M. Scarry, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Undergraduate Advisor, 202 Alumni Building, (919) 962-3841,



ARCH 393 Internship in Archaeology (3–6). Permission of the instructor and the director of undergraduate studies. Internships combine substantive work experience with an academic project.

ARCH 395 Research in Archaeology (1–6). Permission of the instructor. For students who wish to participate in laboratory or field research programs. May be taken twice.

ARCH 396 Independent Study in Archaeology (1–6). Permission of the instructor. Special reading and research in archaeology under the supervision of a selected instructor. May be taken twice.

ARCH 691H Senior Honors Thesis, Part I (3). Permission of the instructor. Restricted to senior honors candidates. First semester of senior honors thesis. Independent research under the direction of an archaeology curriculum faculty member.

ARCH 692H Senior Honors Thesis, Part II (3). Permission of the instructor. Restricted to senior honors candidates. Second semester of senior honors thesis. Independent research under the direction of an archaeology curriculum faculty member.