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 our surroundings on- and off-campus through active research and fieldwork. Each Monday, students will learn the basic components of field archaeology through hands-on survey and excavation at Moses Brown, 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 final project that is designed by the students and instructor after preliminary work has begun on our new excavation. Upon completion of this course, students will have a solid foundation for participation in archaeological field projects in the U.S. 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 the Rhode Island Historical Society and within the city of Providence
  • Greater knowledge of the history of the Moses Brown campus and its Providence surroundings
  • Basic skills for research dissemination, museum display, and public outreach

Texts and Materials

  • Deetz, James. 1996. In Small Things 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. 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 both readings and fieldwork progress.

Download a full copy of the ARCH 1900 Syllabus-2.pdf

Course Summary:

Date Details Due