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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Spring 2008

AMS 315 • Introduction to Historical Archaeology

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
29809 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
UTC 3.110

Course Description

This course is a comprehensive survey of the methods, theories, and discoveries of what has become the most popular form of archaeology in America. Historical Archaeology is an interdisciplinary field that draws its theoretical and methodological foundations from anthropology, archaeology, and history. The discipline is an outgrowth of American, or anthropological archaeology, and its subjects of study are the societies and cultures of the recent past. Historical archaeologists work across the globe on sites dating back to the era of contact between indigenous peoples and Europeans all the way up to relatively contemporary sites that are but decades old. Researchers work with not only archaeological data, but historical documents, oral histories, and ethnographies in order to interpret how people lived in the past. Students will learn the basics of archaeological methods and artifact analyses, and will be introduced to various schools of thought on how to approach and interpret the past.

Lectures and readings will cover a range of topics, regions and time periods including: - the consequences of cultural contact between Native Americans, Europeans and Africans - Resistance, identity and African Americans from plantation slavery to the Jim Crow era. - the relationship between the built environment (landscapes and architecture) and power. - Building the foundations of empire: European colonization of the New World - Urban archaeology and city dwellers: communicating ethnic identity - The world of the dead: cemeteries and the rituals of death and burial - Gender and the roles of women in early American society

Grading Policy

4 exams (15 points each) = 60 pts. 2 reading assignments (5 points each) = 10 pts. 6 exercises (5 points each) = 30 pts. Attendance: attendance is required and role will be taken. Students are allowed 3 absences; points will be deducted for every unexcused absence thereafter.


James Deetz, In Small Things Forgotten. Charles Orser and Brian Fagan, Historical Archaeology. Course packet


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