Archaeology is the scientific study of the unwritten record of the human past. This record consists of artifacts, human remains, garbage, ruins, and archaeological sites and landscapes spanning the past three million years. Studying the prehistoric and historic human past through archaeology provides the foundation for understanding and celebrating our culturally and biologically diverse species.
Archaeologists also manage and protect archeological resources by working in state and national parks or at historic sites. Most archaeologists in the U.S. are employed in cultural resource management to ensure the preservation of archaeological evidence under threat by modern development and land use. Appalachian’s archaeology program stands out as the one in North Carolina that trains students for cultural resource management.
Students’ experience in Appalachian’s archaeology program includes departmental field experiences, opportunities to conduct research alongside faculty and present findings at regional and national conferences, working with state-of-the-art lab equipment, and working as research assistants and teaching assistants.
Employment: Many graduates of this degree have gone on to become professors of archaeology, or are working as archaeologists across the southeastern United States. Alumni also work for federal and state agencies including: the N.C. Department of Transportation, the N.C. Office of State Archaeology, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and private cultural resource management companies such as Alexander Archaeological Consultants, Inc. See more
Graduate Schools: University of Florida, College of London, University of Colorado, University of Georgia. See more
Students are required to take core anthropology and archeology classes covering cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, archeological theory and field archeology.
Students must also complete courses in statistics, geology, a specific geographic area of archeological study, plus laboratory courses and a senior capstone course.
A minor is optional. Recommended minors include:
Engagement Outside the Classroom
Appalachian State University Anthropology Club – ASUAC works to cultivate and advance interest in anthropological ideas, research, and the understanding of cross-cultural and multidisciplinary relationships.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
The Department of Anthropology regularly offers field schools in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Wales, as well as areas of North America.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- Appalachian archaeology students are required to take a field archeology course. This can include a field experience at one of Appalachian’s field schools.
- Appalachian’s archaeology program focuses on cultural resource management training. Students are recruited by cultural resource management firms across the Southeast.
- Department of Anthropology students are known for their ability to analyze complex cultural and social situations, and find employment in many fields, including marketing, research and development, community and international development, law, higher education, and more.
- The department houses state-of-the-art lab equipment, including a 3D scanner and metallurgical and stereo microscopes.
- The department houses large vertebrate and human osteological comparative collection as well as archaeological research collections from excavations of prehistoric and historic sites in western North Carolina and adjacent regions.
- Students are often given graduate-level research assistantships or teaching assistantships at an undergraduate level. This gives students the opportunity to gain publication and practical experience with faculty members.
- Faculty members have received prestigious fellowships from the Fulbright Program, National Science Foundation and Princeton University to pursue their research.
- The department offers scholarships and awards.
Number of Students
Approximately 50, with more than 150 majors in the Department of Anthropology
Method of Delivery
On campus, option of visiting a field school
- Art Conservator
- Collections Manager
- College Professor
- Forensic Anthropologist
- Field Archaeologist
- Museum Education Director
- Museum Curator/Technician
- Bureau of Indian Affairs Researcher
- Cultural Resource Manager
Dr. Timothy J. Smith