Course Syllabus

The goals of this course are twofold: to introduce students to the basics of archaeological field methods, and to explore the history and archaeology of the Brown University campus through active research and fieldwork. Each Monday, students will learn the basic components of field archaeology through hands-on survey and excavation of the Quiet Green, and the laboratory processing of the resulting archaeological finds. On Tuesdays, discussion sections will focus on various fieldwork or research techniques and their application to historical New England contexts. The course will culminate in a new display in Rhode Island Hall of materials from the past three years of fieldwork, and a collaborative presentation of our excavation results to the Brown community. Upon completion of this course, students will have a solid foundation for participation in archaeological field projects in the US and abroad.

Learning goals

  • Hands-on training in field techniques, including site survey, excavation, stratigraphic recording, artifact analysis and processing, and conservation

  • Experience with historical and archival research, using collections at Brown University and within the city of Providence

  • Develop greater knowledge of the history of the Brown Campus and its surroundings

  • Learn basic skills for research dissemination, museum display, and public outreach

Texts and Materials

  • Deetz, James. 1996. In Small Thing Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life, Revised Edition. New York: Anchor Books.

  • Renfrew, Colin, and Paul Bahn. 2010. Archaeology Essentials: Theory, Methods, Practice. London: Thames and Hudson.

  • Roskams, Steve. 2001. Excavation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Purchase recommended for archaeology concentrators, but selected readings will also be made available online)

  • Small bound notebook for site diaries (Moleskin or similar)

  • Marshalltown 4” pointing trowel ($13 on Amazon)

  • all other readings will be made available through Canvas

Weekly Schedule

All readings must be completed BEFORE section each week, and students should come to section prepared to discuss readings and fieldwork progress. 

Download a full copy of the Course Syllabus.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due