Skip to Navigation
Cornell University    
  Feb 19, 2018
Courses of Study 2011-2012 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


In the College of Arts and Sciences .


Course Offerings 

Archaeology is an interdisciplinary field at Cornell, which is one of the few universities in the United States to offer a separate archaeology undergraduate major and a master’s degree. Program faculty members, affiliated with several departments, coordinate course offerings and help students identify opportunities for fieldwork, graduate study, and professional positions.


S. Manning, director (Classics), A. Alexandridis (History of Art), S. Baugher (Landscape Architecture), M. Fiskesjö (Anthropology), F. Gleach (Anthropology), K.L. Gleason (Landscape Architecture), J.S. Henderson (Anthropology), K. Jordan (Anthropology), R. McNeal (Asian Studies), C. Monroe (Near Eastern Studies), L. Monroe (Near Eastern Studies), D.I. Owen (Near Eastern Studies), E. Rebillard (Classics), N. Russell (Anthropology), B. S. Strauss (History), M.A. Tomlan (City and Regional Planning), T.P. Volman (Anthropology). Emeritus: A. Bloom (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences), K.M. Clinton (Classics), J. Coleman (Classics), K.A.R. Kennedy (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), P. Kuniholm (Dendrochronology), A. Ramage (History of Art).

The Major

Prospective majors must complete ARKEO 1200  or one of the basic courses as defined on the Course Listings page  before they will be admitted to the major.

Because the major draws on the teaching and research interests of faculty from many departments to present a broad view of the archaeological process, interested students should discuss their course of study with a participating faculty member as early as possible. In some areas of specialization, intensive language training should be coordinated with other studies as early as the freshman year.

Once admitted to the major, students must take at least 32 additional credits from the courses listed below, or from related fields selected in consultation with a major advisor of their choosing. The courses chosen should provide exposure to a broad range of cultures known through archaeology and the methods of uncovering and interpreting them. Sixteen of the credit hours should be at the 3000-level or above. At least two courses must be taken from each of the following categories: II. Anthropological Archaeology; III. Classical, Near Eastern, and Medieval Archaeology; and IV. Methodology and Technology. Only 4 credits of ARKEO 3000 - Individual Study  or other supervised study can count toward the major.

Courses fundamental to the discipline of archaeology are listed in the “Basic courses” section. It is recommended that majors who are planning to pursue graduate studies in archaeology take at least two of the basic courses in each category. Further courses in languages and geology are also recommended.

Honors. Honors in archaeology are awarded on the basis of the quality of an honors essay and the student’s overall academic record. Prospective honors students should have at least a 3.5 GPA in the major and a 3.0 grade point average overall. They should consult with the director of undergraduate studies by the beginning of the senior year. The honors essay is normally prepared over two semesters in consultation with a faculty advisor during the senior year. Students may enroll in ARKEO 4981 - Honors Thesis Research , and to complete the thesis, they may enroll in ARKEO 4982 - Honors Thesis Write-Up . Both courses are offered in the fall and spring. Only ARKEO 4981  may count toward hours for completion of the archaeology major requirements. The credit hours for these courses are variable.

Fieldwork. Every student should gain some practical experience in archaeological fieldwork on a project authorized by his or her advisor. This requirement may be waived in exceptional circumstances. The Jacob and Hedwig Hirsch bequest provides support for a limited number of students to work at excavations sponsored by Cornell and other approved institutions.

The Minor

Students in Cornell schools and colleges other than Arts and Sciences may elect a minor in archaeology. To minor in archaeology, the student must complete five courses, all with a grade of C or better. The five courses must consist of either (1) ARKEO 1200  and four other courses from categories II–IV (described above), at least three of which must be basic courses, or (2) five courses from categories II–IV, at least four of which must be basic courses. Minors are encouraged to gain some fieldwork experience. They are eligible for Hirsch Scholarships in support of fieldwork on the same basis as majors.