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Archaeology in the American University August 26, 1998
by James Wiseman

During the past 50 years archaeology has been in a state of dynamic evolution as conceptual innovations and expanded concerns have opened up new directions for research, and a host of technologies developed in the natural and physical sciences have had a profound impact on archaeological research design and methodology. Archaeologists now formulate and carry out projects to answer questions that could not be asked in earlier years because there was then no way of finding their answers in archaeological data. Government agencies and private firms now employ thousands of archaeologists; indeed, archaeology, more than ever before, has become a public concern, and the public's business. The conceptual shifts, enlarged fields of concern, and new technologies that have transformed the practice of archaeology have made even more urgent the already long-overdue overhaul of the education and training of archaeologists. We shall have a look at the state of archaeology in the American university, but first I want to touch briefly on some (by no means all!) of the most significant developments and innovations.

[image] Intensive surface survey in southern Epirus in 1994 by a Nikopolis Project field-walking team. (Nikopolis Project 1994) [LARGER IMAGE]

The most significant conceptual shift in the practice of archaeology, in my view, is the rise of regional interdisciplinary survey, or landscape archaeology (sometimes accompanied by limited excavation), which now challenges excavation as the primary activity of those engaged in field research. The expanded areas of concern having the greatest impact on archaeology are government-mandated investigations, often called cultural resource management (CRM); preservation and heritage management; and ethics and the law. The first two fields involve a considerable expansion of career opportunities for archaeologists and others in related disciplines, and have contributed to the increased interest in the third. Finally, I consider the new technologies with the greatest impact (real and potential) on archaeology over the past 50 years to be remote sensing and its associated computer-aided analysis, especially geographic information systems (GIS), and the more recent developments in the study of organic residues and DNA research.

Landscape archaeology, briefly stated, is the study of human societies in their environmental settings over time, including the ways in which humans responded and adapted to changes in the landscape and natural environment (changes which first must be identified), and the impact of humans on the land and environment. Such an investigation obviously calls for a team of geologists, botanists, and other natural scientists, along with archaeologists, or archaeologists also trained in the sciences. Robert Braidwood of the University of Chicago introduced this kind of interdisciplinary approach in the late 1940s and 1950s with a brilliant team of archaeologists and natural scientists investigating the change from food-gathering to food-producing societies in a series of expeditions into the foothills of the Zagros mountains of the Middle East. Braidwood's successes prompted researchers to mount similar projects both in the Old and New Worlds, some seeking evidence for the rise of farming and animal husbandry in specific regions, while other archaeologists emulated his approach in the study of political systems or inter-regional relations in their palaeoenvironmental settings. Another component of modern landscape archaeology on a regional scale is the study of settlement patterns, with their political and economic implications, which was introduced (also in the late 1940s) in the Virú Valley of Peru by Gordon Willey, who later became Bowditch Professor of Central American and Mexican Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University. The evolution of settlement-pattern studies and techniques of systematic, intensive surface survey by a number of archaeologists, first primarily in the New World, has been critical for developing the broad interpretive power of landscape archaeology.

The study of settlement patterns, with their political and economic implications, was introduced in the late 1940s by Gordon Willey, seen here in Virú Valley in 1946. (Courtesy Gordon Willey) [LARGER IMAGE] [image]

Archaeological survey has been promoted not only by archaeologists based in research institutions, but also by archaeologists employed by private contracting firms or federal, state, and municipal agencies. The numbers of these archaeologists have grown dramatically since the late 1960s, as government responded with mounting legislation, regulations, jobs, and project funding to public concern for the identification and protection of its cultural resources. By the 1970s millions of public dollars annually were being made available for archaeology, primarily for the identification, excavation, recording, and preservation of archaeological remains threatened with destruction by proposed construction or other development activities involving government land or money from a government agency. These CRM activities resulted in the expansion of the archaeological data base in North America far beyond any earlier conceivable expectation, and thousands of new career positions were created for archaeologists. Still, the new developments created problems for the discipline. Students were taught to set their project research design in a particular theoretical framework, but CRM archaeologists pointed out the impossibility of doing so when surveying along the proposed line of new electrical power lines or in other projects where paying clients (including the public) determined the parameters of the project. Along with public dollars came public scrutiny. Clients and the public held archaeologists accountable and expected to read narratives about the projects written in a manner comprehensible by intelligent lay-people, not just jargon-laden reports understandable only by others in the same field, few of whom had ever been encouraged to develop skills at writing for the public. They also wanted--needed--to know how to judge both archaeologists' credentials and performance. The creation of the Society of Professional Archaeologists (SOPA) in 1976 was intended to provide the kind of oversight and guarantee of professionalism that was needed not just in CRM but in the entire discipline. Although there were some successes, SOPA never attracted enough members to become an effective force in establishing professional standards and ensuring professional conduct. SOPA is now (this year) being succeeded by the Register of Professional Archaeologists (ROPA), which begins with the endorsement and support of the principal national archaeological organizations. Its aim is "to advance professionalism in archaeology," in several ways, including by "identifying archaeology as a profession and qualified archaeologists as professionals," and "encouraging high standards in the training of archaeologists." The notion that archaeology, practiced as a publicly recognized profession around the world for at least the entire twentieth century, needs to be identified as a profession may strike some readers as quaint; I assure you, however, the effort is needed in order to carry out programmatic reform in the academic world, where ROPA is likely to find its greatest challenge.

[image]Built in A.D. 115, the arch of Trajan in the Adriatic seaport of Ancona, Italy, is now surrounded by loading dock cranes, a coal distribution facility, and railroad tracks. One of the most intact of Roman commemorative arches, it has been endangered by corrosive coal dust, wind-borne salt, auto exhaust, and vibrations created by passing trains. Much of the adjacent industry, however, is being relocated and the train tracks are being removed. Today, the World Monuments Fund, which added the arch to its list of 100 most endangered sites in 1998, is supporting the documentation, cleaning, consolidation, and environmental monitoring of the arch. (World Monuments Fund) [LARGER IMAGE]

The phenomenon of rising public interest in identifying and preserving cultural resources has been worldwide, ranging from highly industrialized countries to emerging nations, where projects of great (even international) scope and expense were mounted to rescue and preserve sites and monuments deemed by a government, often persuaded by the public, or by a nongovernmental organization to be of significance. A powerful international community of professionals in architecture, art history, history, conservation of artifacts, site and monument preservation, tourism, archaeology, and other fields has arisen to respond to these public concerns for heritage management. There are hundreds of organizations involved in these efforts, among the best known of which are the International Council on Monuments and Sites, with branches in many countries around the world, and the World Monuments Fund, which is based in New York City and also has offices in several other countries. Archaeologists took the lead in detection and recovery, but have played less and less of a role in site preservation and management.

Uch, in Pakistan's Punjab Province, was a capital during the early Delhi sultanate and an independent power just before the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century. Today the city is stagnating and there is little concern for its historic buildings (including important Sufi Islam shrines, sanctuaries, cemeteries, and mausoleums), which are threatened by rain water penetration, rising damp, wind and sand erosion, and salt crystallization. The World Monuments Fund is working to establish a holistic conservation program for the site including not just work on the monuments but also training of local students and craftsmen, raising of citizen awareness, and promoting sustainable economic growth. (World Monuments Fund) [LARGER IMAGE] [image]

The problem is that preservation and management require a commitment to long-term care, a concern of great interest to the public, but one to which archaeology as a discipline has not responded well. Most archaeologists have been schooled in the discovery, documentation, and interpretation of ancient remains, but few either in preservation or heritage management, the continuing care and presentation to the public of cultural sites and monuments. Many preservationists, with some justification, have come to view archaeologists with some suspicion, as people who put monuments at risk by uncovering them, and then walk away, leaving to preservationists (or to no one) the critical decisions on what should be preserved, in what way, how, and for how long. These ethical issues should be concerns of all archaeologists. And heritage management, as a field, would benefit from a greater involvement of archaeologists; indeed, it seems to me that archaeological expertise in analysis and interpretation would enhance the education of anyone entering the field of heritage management.

[image]Mesa Verde, Colorado, is famous for its Anasazi cliff dwellings, which have undergone continuous excavation and preservation attempts since the national park was created in 1906. Today, the unique plain and decorated earthen plasters and mortars of the cliff dwellings are deteriorating at an alarming rate. Excavation has made some buildings unstable, and waterlines introduced into the park for public convenience have made worse an already serious moisture problem in some alcoves. A pilot conservation program was recently carried out successfully by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania. (World Monuments Fund). [LARGER IMAGE]

Ethics and professional standards have been debated for years, but the national archaeological organizations were reluctant to endorse specific codes because they would then need to enforce them, an onerous task and one with significant legal implications. The creation of SOPA was useful in this regard, and we may hope that ROPA will successfully assume the burden, even though the various organizations have now taken some action of their own. These are essential elements of a profession, since they provide both guidelines for the professionals and criteria for evaluating their performance and conduct. The numerous regulations governing archaeological investigations in the United States are matched by different kinds of laws in other countries where American archaeologists work, so that acquaintance with relevant law is prudent for all archaeologists, and essential in some fields, like CRM or heritage management.

Radar image of Angkor, Cambodia. This image, captured by a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) on NASA's third Spaceborne Imaging Radar mission (SIR-C) in 1994, has been used by archaeologists to detect cultural features hidden beneath the jungle canopy, as well as to study the hydrology and architectural evolution of Angkor, the site of seven successive capitals of the Khmer Empire from the ninth to the twelfth centuries. In 1997 a SAR mounted on an airplane (AIRSAR) gathered additional images of the region, including highly accurate elevational data, from which a 3-D topographic map of the area was then constructed. (NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory) [LARGER IMAGE] [image]

Among the new technologies, remote sensing continues to offer new and rewarding archaeological applications. Remote-sensing devices include those that operate at or near ground level, such as ground-penetrating radar (GPR), magnetometers, and other means of geophysical prospection; sonar and other technologies for exploration underwater; and the full range of sensors operated from aircraft and spacecraft. Another essential component of remote sensing is computer-aided analysis of the data recovered, which can then be enhanced to reveal and display ill-defined features and spatial relationships, and to create GIS maps and images with great explanatory power. Techniques now exist for creating computer images in 3-D and a variety of perspectives of subsurface features recorded by GPR. Images gathered by synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) mounted on a space shuttle or an airplane now reveal archaeological features hidden by vegetation, even dense tropical rain forests, just as images of arid lands have for two decades been revealing topographic or archaeological features hidden by sand. Remote sensors provide invaluable images or overlays for creating GIS maps of large regional survey zones. Topographic maps with highly accurate elevational data can now be made from (interferometric) radar images gathered during a simple fly-over by aircraft or by spacecraft. Aerial photography from light aircraft and tethered blimps has proved its value in archaeological detection and recording repeatedly over the past 50 years, and aircraft have begun to carry increasingly sophisticated sensors. A tethered blimp was used successfully in Greece as early as 1986 as a platform for a multispectral video camera. An SAR system with an interferometric channel capable of accurate elevational data has recently been developed at Brigham Young University for a six-passenger light aircraft. Such relatively economical systems will eventually make aerial remote sensing with high resolution as affordable as geophysical prospection. The increasingly important role that remote sensing plays in archaeology is further indicated by resolutions passed during the summer 1998 by the governing boards both of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), calling upon NASA to create an archaeology program within its Office of Earth Science.

[image]SIR-C image of a 45.5 mile section of the Great Wall of China, 434 miles west of Beijing. The wall appears as a thin orange band running from top to bottom of the image. The white rectangle denotes the area detailed in the four smaller images, which show the different effects of multipolarity in the radar's L-band and C-Band. The image labeled L-HH (horizontally transmitted, horizontally received) provides the clearest image of two generations of the wall: the Ming Dynasty wall, left, built 600 years ago, and the Sui Dynasty wall, built 1,500 years ago. The latter is partially buried beneath sand. (NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory) [LARGER IMAGE]

I should briefly mention two other advances in archaeological science. One is the compositional analysis of ancient residues, which is making possible the detailed identification of the foods and other organic materials transported by ancient mariners, or stored on land in containers, or consumed from utensils in homes. The second is DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis. I have heard recently, for example, that DNA "fingerprinting" of French wine-grapes (by John Bowers, University of California, Davis) may determine if they are descended from grapes grown in Roman times. The extraction and copying of ancient DNA from human bones and teeth, which are copious in the archaeological record, within the past decade have prompted some hope that we may in the future be able to identify familial relations in ancient populations, and trace the lines both of their ancestors and descendants. Theoretically, this research could yield information about relationships among the earliest humans, and perhaps even about human origins.

While these and other changes have dramatically affected archaeological fieldwork and the way professionals think about archaeology, they have so far had little impact on the way archaeologists are educated in the United States. Archaeology programs have been slow to adapt their offerings to provide the more practical training required by the many who will enter CRM archaeology. Courses on archaeological administration, ethics, and the law, so much needed by professional archaeologists, are still rare. Although publications on archaeological ethics and the law have become more frequent in the past 20 years than ever before, the topics have only begun to win a place in the curriculum of most programs in archaeology, most often being covered briefly in courses on other topics instead of comprising, as they deserve, a required course in the program.

Wall painting from the Tomb of Nefertari, favorite wife of Ramses the Great (1292-1225 B.C.), in the Valley of the Queens, near Luxor, Egypt. The badly deteriorated wall paintings in the tomb were repaired and conserved by the Getty Conservation Institute in cooperation with the Egyptian Antiquities Organization. (James Wiseman, 1989) [LARGER IMAGE] [image]

Few institutions offer courses in multiple archaeological sciences, or, alternatively, a single survey course of archaeological sciences. Typically, an archaeological science is developed as a course offering in a program by an archaeologist who happens also to possess a scientific expertise (geoarchaeology, palaeoethnobotany, faunal analysis, archaeometry, etc.), and the course is dropped when the professor responsible dies, retires, or moves on. The chief exception is human osteology (one approach within physical anthropology), which has a wider national acceptance. There are only four academic programs in artifact conservation in the United States, all of them with a focus on fine art, not one on archaeological materials. Heritage management and preservation studies are finding academic homes in other disciplines, and few archaeology programs offer courses specifically for those fields.

[image]Ultraviolet image of a wall painting of Nefertari from her tomb in the Valley of the Queens, taken for Farouk El-Baz, Director, Center for Remote Sensing, Boston University, to aid in determining the treatment needed for preservation. This image incidentally revealed that the figure had been drawn first in outline and then filled in with paint; El-Baz speculated that the first creation was by the master artist, and the second by his assistants. (F.P. Hemans/Center for Remote Sensing, Boston University) [LARGER IMAGE]

While it is true that in academic disciplines curricular reform usually lags behind conceptual changes and innovations in research, the plight of archaeology in the American university seems particularly severe. The simple truth is that few archaeology programs in the United States have a curriculum that was designed by archaeologists to educate archaeologists; most serve the needs of some other discipline, represented by an older, traditional department.

Gordon Willey, now Bowditch Professor Emeritus of Harvard University, as well as Distinguished Research Fellow in Archaeology at Boston University, tells an instructive story about how he came to choose the University of Arizona in 1931 to study archaeology, the field he had selected for a career at age 16. Since he had gone to high school in California he had expected to attend the University of California at Berkeley, where many of his friends were planning to go, but he found no listing in the university catalog for a Department of Archaeology. "I did not know at that time," he comments, "that archaeology often was subsumed academically under Classics, Fine Arts, or Anthropology headings." Not finding what he wanted at Berkeley, he turned to the catalog from neighboring University of Arizona, and found that it listed a Department of Archaeology, which he duly entered in February 1931, setting out on what would become one of the most distinguished archaeological careers in twentieth-century America.

Preparation for aerial photography and remote sensing from a tethered blimp at Lechaeum, the Corinthian Gulf port of Corinth (Greece), in 1986 by a team from Boston University. (Lucy Wiseman) [LARGER IMAGE] [image]

Although there is now an interdepartmental program in archaeology at Berkeley and no archaeology department in Arizona, some things have not changed. Try opening at random some university or college catalogs, graduate or undergraduate; you will find that most of them have no heading for "Archaeology," because archaeology courses are still commonly listed under the course offerings of anthropology, art history, classics, history, religion, or some other department or area study. What is more, on many campuses, several departments at once might offer archaeology courses with little or no coordination of offerings. This arrangement means that students first of all must fulfill the requirements for a degree in anthropology, or art history, or classics, or whatever the major department might be, and those requirements, not surprisingly, vary to some extent among the departments in different universities. Entering students have a difficult time even finding out what archaeology courses are available (How's that for recruitment into a profession?), and once they find out, if they try to stitch together an archaeology program of their own by taking courses in different departments, they are likely to run afoul of departmental requirements or, worse, departmental jealousies. At best in such a context, the archaeological curriculum can develop only so far as its requirements do not intrude into the number of courses required for, say, anthropological linguistics or Greek prose composition or another area deemed of higher priority by the department, however irrelevant for archaeology. The selection of faculty, too, will be determined first by the curricular priorities of the primary discipline of the department; the same goes for other educational resources. These comments are not a complaint about such priorities, or a denigration of linguistics or Greek or any other field of learning. And they are not a protest about the department or area-studies system, a hallmark of American higher education. My objection is to the status of archaeology: it deserves a curriculum of its own, and can have one only within its own program or department.

[image]Acrocorinth, the acropolis of the ancient city of Corinth, photographed from a tethered blimp, 1986. North is at the top, and the Fountain of Upper Peirene is visible near the southern wall. A multispectral video camera was also successfully carried by the blimp on this project to gather images of Acrocorinth and Lechaeum. (F.P. Hemans, J.W. Myers, J. Wiseman) [LARGER IMAGE]

Why, you might reasonably ask, does archaeology remain, as it is on so many campuses, merely a part of those academic programs (or their descendants) in which archaeology first found its various homes in nineteenth-century America? The discipline itself, after all, was never so restricted in its aims and techniques, and it has become increasingly complex, cutting across all the disciplines where it first was based, and generating numerous subfields. Why archaeology has not achieved wider recognition in this century as an independent academic discipline in the United States, as it is in most other countries of the world, is difficult to answer. Academic conservatism is no doubt one of the reasons; as I pointed out above, academic reform normally follows research and practice, and seldom takes the lead. Disciplinary or departmental protectionism also plays a role. Archaeology is seen by some merely as a subfield of another discipline, especially classics or anthropology, and sometimes not a particularly respected endeavor. "Archaeologists," the eminent Greek scholar at the University of Chicago, Paul Shorey, used to say, "are classicists whose brains have sunk to their feet." Perhaps archaeology suffers from an inferiority complex. If so, in my view, the complex is unwarranted.

Early Christian basilica and inner harbor at Lechaeum, the Corinthian Gulf port of Corinth (Greece), photographed from a tethered blimp in 1986 by a Boston University team. (F.P. Hemans, J. W. Myers, J. Wiseman) [LARGER IMAGE] [image]

The inadequacies of archaeological curricula in American universities have alarmed the principal archaeological organizations, which have formed various committees and task forces to address some of the problems. The AIA's ad hoc Committee on the Future of Old World Archaeology carried out a survey by questionnaire (1995-1996), focusing mainly on Near Eastern and classical archaeology, sparking some complaints that many questions were not relevant for programs that included other areas (East Asia, Africa, Australia, the Indus Valley, etc.), or had interdepartmental programs on graduate or undergraduate levels, but not on both, etc.; some departments declined to answer, others simply did not do so. In the end, only 22 questionnaires were returned, almost all from large research institutions. The committee's report noted that offerings in Old World archaeology were shrinking in North America, and that "many classicists and also art historians no longer find archaeology relevant to their interests." A response from one large classics department was: "We are primarily a department of the Greek and Latin languages and literatures...we refer students who want to pursue archaeology to other programs...." The report observed that only in a few programs was Old World Archaeology expanding, notably at Boston University, where there is a department of archaeology. The report recommended that "the creation of additional departments of archaeology in North America should be encouraged and supported by the AIA," but that urgent attention should be paid to improving relations with the American Philological Association and the College Art Association, the principal organizations for classics and art history, respectively. The committee did not concern itself with curricular details, but did recommend that the AIA "should explore ways to make research and teaching in archaeology and ancient art history more relevant to the concerns of classics and art history programs." The AIA's Committee on Professional Responsibilities, which in recent years has completed work on admirable codes of ethics and professional standards, is poised now to take up these matters.

[image]A GIS image showing transects (light black lines) surveyed by the Nikopolis Project at the fortified town site of Kastri (heavier black lines) in southern Epirus (Greece), with different colors indicating the contours of the landscape. (Nikopolis Project) [LARGER IMAGE]

At a meeting this past year of the Professional Archaeologists of New York City, CRM professionals and archaeologists from a number of anthropology departments agreed on the need for changes in training and greater collaboration between the two groups. Students protested that "historic and industrial archaeology," which the report identified as "emerging specializations," were neglected, and agreed with CRM specialists "that technical skills including archaeological sciences (i.e., geoarchaeology, palynology, bioarchaeology), GIS, and formulation of sampling and research designs were pivotal." The report noted, rather belatedly, in my view, that "the archaeological world is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary and high tech." Faculty members claimed that some courses on "applied themes" had gradually been added to their offerings, but said that "it remains difficult, and often frustrating to convince departmental heads, often socio-cultural anthropologists, to restructure programs because of the shifting foci in archaeology." The group's position statement calls for these and other changes in archaeological curricula, including courses on "preservation, law, and especially ethics," the latter of which "should arguably be a core course." Faculty members, however, warned that "their awareness of the need for program innovation is not sufficient to facilitate curriculum revision within an anthropology department."

The yellow device shown above was towed behind a research ship of the Hellenic Navy along the coast of southern Epirus in 1992 to gather side-scan sonar and sub-bottom profiler images for the Nikopolis Project. (James Wiseman) [LARGER IMAGE] [image]

In February 1998, a four-day workshop with similar aims was cosponsored by the SAA, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Association of State Archaeologists at Wakkula Springs, Florida, with additional support from the AIA, the American Anthropological Association (AAA), the Canadian Archaeological Association, and the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA). The workshop was originally intended to focus on enhancing undergraduate and graduate training in public archaeology and CRM, but, according to the preliminary report, the 28 participants quickly realized the stated concerns were part of a larger disciplinary issue; that is, "while the social, political and employment contexts of practicing archaeology have changed enormously over the last 20 years, curricular structure and content have been left relatively unaltered." They then proceeded "to consider revision of the national archaeology curriculum," aiming at a vision for "Teaching Archaeology in the 21st century." The lively, wide-ranging discussions resulted in the enunciation of six principles to guide curricular reform: stewardship (archaeological resources are non-renewable); diverse pasts (others, including the public, have a vested interest in archaeological resources); social relevance (archaeologists "must effectively articulate" how we may "use the past to help us think productively about the present and the future"); ethics and values; written and oral communication ("...archaeologists must communicate their goals, results and recommendations clearly and effectively," because archaeology itself "depends on the understanding and support of the public"); and basic archaeological skills. These basically admirable principles will now be carried forward by the SAA, which has created a Task Force on Curriculum.

There are some models of independent archaeology programs that these committees, I hope, will examine in their future deliberations. Interdepartmental programs in archaeology, on one academic level or another, exist at several institutions, including Yale, Berkeley, UCLA, University of Texas at Austin, and Washington University (St. Louis). All such programs known to me, however, are essentially not funded and are at risk--all faculty positions and salaries are in traditional departments, so the program, however meritorious and however excellent the faculty, can be reduced or eliminated by a change of interest or lack of funding from supporting departments or university administrations, as happened to programs at the University of Minnesota and Indiana University. Such programs need dedicated budget lines, if their futures are to be secure. A second model is a department of archaeology combined with some other related discipline, of which there are several; two examples are the Department of Sociology/Archaeology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, which has an Archaeological Studies Program, and the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Missouri, Columbia. There are also departments of a particular archaeological field, e.g., the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr.

[image](Ray Bartkus) [LARGER IMAGE]

Another model is simply a department of archaeology which, at least in a large institution, could bring together the archaeological faculty of multiple departments in which archaeology is taught. Archaeologists at Boston University followed that route in 1979, first with an interdepartmental Archaeological Studies Program involving faculty from four departments. That program was converted into a Department of Archaeology in 1982 with its own faculty and budget, following an overwhelmingly favorable vote by the college faculty. The archaeological faculty has grown from seven in 1982 to 14 in 1998, while student enrollments in archaeology courses have increased from 475 to about 2,000. All degrees are in "Archaeology," but different tracks make possible several concentrations. All majors, regardless of concentration, take the same basic core courses. On the graduate level, those courses cover the intellectual history of archaeology; methods and theory in the archaeology of prehistoric societies; method and theory in the archaeology of complex societies; archaeological administration, ethics and the law; two courses in social/cultural anthropology; and a survey course in archaeological sciences. There are additional requirements for each concentration (e.g., Near Eastern, Egyptian, Maya, Aegean, Greek and Roman, New World historical, and others), as well as some special M.A. programs (e.g., geoarchaeology and heritage management).

That the principal archaeological organizations in the United States are actively engaged in considering revisions for archaeological curricula is cause for optimism. The issue will, I believe, continue to be pressed hard by many archaeologists, especially by professionals outside the academy and by students, but also by an increasing number of faculty. The eventual recommendations arising from several committees, however, would have greater force if they could come from a joint Task Force on the Archaeological Curriculum, made up of professionals from all the archaeological organizations and principal constituencies working together. Since there seems to be such broad interest in reform, perhaps now is the moment for effective, cooperative action on an archaeological curriculum that would reflect the concerns of the entire profession.

James Wiseman, a contributing editor to ARCHAEOLOGY, is professor of archaeology, art history, and classics at Boston University.

Further Reading

The author has written a number of articles on archaeology in the academic world over the past few decades, including James Wiseman, "Archaeology as Archaeology," Journal of Field Archaeology 7 (1980), pp. 149-151; "Archaeology in the Future: an Evolving Discipline," American Journal of Archaeology 84 (1980), pp. 279-285; "Conflicts in Archaeology: Education and Practice," Journal of Field Archaeology 10 (1983), pp. 1-9; and "Archaeology Today: From the Classroom to the Field and Elsewhere," American Journal of Archaeology 93 (1989), pp. 437-444. On interdisciplinary archaeology, landscape archaeology, and settlement pattern studies, see, e.g., Linda S. Braidwood, Robert J. Braidwoood, Bruce Howe, Charles A. Reed, and Patty Jo Watson, eds., Prehistoric Archeology Along the Zagros Flanks. Oriental Institute Publications Vol. 105 (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1983); Graeme Barker and John Lloyd, eds., Roman Landscapes: Archaeological Survey in the Mediterranean Region (London: British School at Rome, 1991); Evon Z. Vogt and Richard M. Leventhal, eds., Prehistoric Settlement Patterns. Essays in Honor of Gordon R. Willey (Cambridge, Massachusetts: University of New Mexico Press and Harvard University, 1983). See also Gordon R. Willey, "American Archaeology, 1931-1996: A Personal Perspective," Symbols, Spring, 1998, pp. 11-18. For recent publications on remote sensing in archaeology see Farouk El-Baz, "Space Age Archaeology," Scientific American, August 1997, pp. 40-45; James Wiseman, "Space Missions and Ground Truth," ARCHAEOLOGY 49:4 (July/August 1996), pp. 11-13, and "Wonders of Radar Imagery," ARCHAEOLOGY 49:5 (September/October 1996), pp. 14-18; Frederick P. Hemans, J. Wilson Myers, and James Wiseman, Remote Sensing from a Tethered Blimp in Greece. Technical Paper No. 2 (Boston: Boston University Center for Remote Sensing, 1987). On the Tomb of Nefertari, see Farouk El-Baz, Geographic and Geologic Setting of the Tomb of Nefertari, Egypt. Technical Paper No. 1 (Boston: Boston University Center for Remote Sensing, 1986), and "Geoarchaeologists use remote sensing tools to study ancient life, landforms," Geotimes (July 1990), pp. 16-18, 23. On resins and DNA research, see Tabitha Powledge and Mark Rose, "The Great DNA Hunt," ARCHAEOLOGY 49:5 (September/October 1996), pp. 36-44; Scott Woodward, "Genealogy of New Kingdom Pharaohs and Queens," ARCHAEOLOGY 49:5 (September/October 1996), pp. 45-47; Tabitha Powledge and Mark Rose, "Colonizing the Americas," ARCHAEOLOGY 49:6 (November/December 1996), pp. 58-66; Brenda Smiley, "Fingerprinting the Dead," ARCHAEOLOGY 49:6 (November/December 1996), pp. 66-67; Patrick E. McGovern, Donald L. Glusker, Lawrence J. Exner, and Mary M. Voigt, "Neolithic resinated wine," Nature 381 (6 June 1996), pp. 480-81; and several articles in Patrick E. McGovern, Stuart J. Fleming, and Solomon H. Katz, eds., The Origins and Ancient History of Wine (Luxembourg: Gordon and Breach Publishers, 1995). The report by Jack L. Davis, "Old World Archaeology Teaching Survey, A Report of the AIA Committee on the Future of Old World Archaeology," circulated first by email in December, 1996. On the development of cultural resource management and historic preservation in the United States, see Thomas F. King, Patricia Parker Hickman, and Gary Berg, Anthropology in Historic Preservation: Caring for Culture's Clutter (New York: Academic Press, 1977). See also Mark J. Lynott and Alison Wylie, Ethics in American Archaeology: Challenges for the 1990s (Washington, D.C.: Special Report, Society for American Archaeology, 1995); Mark J. Lynott, "Ethical Principles and Archaeological Practice: Development of an Ethics Policy," American Antiquity 61 (1997), pp. 589-599. See Bill Lipe and Vin Steponaitis, "SAA to Promote Professional Standards through ROPA Sponsorship," SAA Bulletin, March 1998, pp. 1, 16-17; Joseph Schuldenrein, "Changing Career Paths and the Training of Professional Archeologists: Observations from the Barnard College Forum," SAA Bulletin, January 1998, pp. 31-33 (Part I); May 1998, pp. 26-29 (Part II).

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© 1998 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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