Why Archaeology?

What is archaeology?

Archaeologists study past human cultures and behaviour through the material left behind: artifacts and features, plant, animal and human remains, sediments, sites, and their associated landscapes. Our students engage in practical training and experiential learning in classroom, laboratory and field work settings that provide a comprehensive education and transferable skills. State of the art laboratories specializing in applied archaeological sciences, environmental archaeology, archaeological conservation, and deep-time, historical and Indigenous archaeology integrate students into community-university research initiatives from Northern Labrador to French Guiana and from Alaska to Northwest Europe.

What do archaeologists do?

Dr. Meghan Burchell and M.A. student Anna Sparrow talk about why studying archaeology at Memorial is rewarding.

What do archaeologists study? Some sample courses include:
  • 2450 Principles of Archaeological Science introduces students to a broad range of scientific approaches used in archaeology. The course provides an overview of the historical development of archaeological science and a survey of the current techniques used to investigate materials recovered from archaeological contexts, including biomolecular methods, paleoethnobotany, zooarchaeology, geoarchaeology, dating techniques, remote sensing and conservation.
  • 2495 Archaeological Frauds and Mysteries. This course explores the sensationalized and ‘unreal’ side of archaeology and delves deeper into popular misconceptions of the past. From unraveling the mysteries of Big Foot to evaluating the evidence for alien life on Earth, students will learn how scientific methodology is used to determine facts from myths in archaeology.
  • 2583 Introduction to Applied Archaeology is designed to familiarize students with field and laboratory techniques. Students will learn about research design and the methodologies involved in archaeological site survey and excavation. Students will be instructed in the identification of archaeological sites, completion of site inventory forms, the use of surveying instruments, and the creation of accurate site maps, using these instruments as well as the concepts associated with archaeological excavation, mapping, recording and photography. Moreover, students will be given basic instruction in artifact identification, processing and cataloguing.

Find out more about the undergraduate and graduate courses we offer.

What kind of jobs do archaeology grads get?

See what some of our former students have gone on to do.