The Archaeology Program focuses on the study of past human societies primarily through their material remains, or “material culture.” Archaeologists explore the nature of and changes in past cultures around the world through survey, excavation and analyses of stone tools, pottery, bones, plant remains, architecture and other cultural residues. Some of the major research foci of archaeologists are the behaviour and adaptations of early hominins, diversity of hunter-gatherer societies, origins of agriculture, pastoralism, urbanism and politically complex states, the workings of ancient exchange systems, and the development of class-based and gender-based political and economic inequalities in complex societies. Working archaeologists often specialize geographically, chronologically or thematically. Classical archaeologists, for example, specialize in the cultures of the ancient Greco-Roman world, while palaeoethnobotanists explore ways that botanical residues of ancient and prehistoric cultures can inform us about their economies and social systems. The specialist, major and minor programs allow students to explore archaeology in an interdisciplinary setting.
Students in the specialist or major program should consult the program coordinator or faculty members in their intended areas of specialization for advice on the selection of courses. Those intending to go on to graduate studies in departments such as Classics, East Asian Studies, Fine Art History or Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations should pay particular attention to language requirements at the graduate level.
The Archaeology Specialist (Arts program) is designed for students who would like to concentrate in archaeology while drawing on the teaching resources of diverse departments. See details below. Students interested in pursuing graduate studies should combine it with study of the ancient and modern languages relevant to their primary area of interest.
The Archaeology Major (Arts program) is designed for students who would like to pursue their interests in archaeology in conjunction with a Major in another field, such as Art, Classics, Earth Science, History, or Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. See details below.
The Archaeology Minor (Arts program) allows students to sample archaeology while pursuing their main interest in another discipline. See details below.
For all these programs, students are encouraged to seek counselling and information from the Anthropology Undergraduate Administrator/Student Counsellor, Anthropology (416-978-6414).
Careers in archaeology usually require graduate training, although some aspects of archaeology in the public sector can be pursued with an undergraduate degree. Students completing our program have also successfully pursued careers in teaching, tourism, and cultural resource management.