Skip to main content

ANTH 308 Archaeology: Explaining the Past

Who owns the past and why should we try to preserve it? This course explores the formation of the archaeological record, and the methods archaeologists use to interpret that record. Students examine how professional archaeology differs from looting, and how archaeologists work to protect the archaeological record. The course also analyzes and evaluates academic and popular interpretations of archaeology.


4 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 1, 1998 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Understands, analyzes, and writes about key concepts, methodologies, and current theories of archaeological research at an upper division college level.
  • Critically evaluates the practice and ethics of archeology as a scientific endeavor in a multicultural setting, and its role in constructing identity for contemporary social groups.
  • Development of critical thinking skills needed to critique and evaluate the results and interpretations of archaeological research.
  • Understands the historical role of archeology and its potential misuse to reflect and enforce social inequalities.
  • Understands, at an upper division college level, the relationship between archeological research, history, and the natural sciences.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 10: People and the Environment

  • Explain the basic structure and function of various natural ecosystems and of human adaptive strategies within those systems.
  • Discern patterns and interrelationships of bio-physical and socio-cultural systems.
  • Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic, religious) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
  • Evaluate critically environmental and natural resource issues in light of understandings about interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.
  • Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems.
  • Articulate and defend the actions they would take on various environmental issues.

Fall 2023

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 Archaeology: Explaining the Past Kreutzer, Daniel D Books for ANTH-308-50 Fall 2023 Course details for ANTH-308-50 Fall 2023