American Archaeology

Interested in doing Archaeology in the U.S.? There is currently a great need locally for people qualified to do "contract archeology." There are also opportunities for interesting and meaningful work in local historical museums, museums of archaeology and anthropology, and educational programs through the National Park Service (among others). To get an idea of the kinds of opportunities out there, visit "Shovelbums" on the web. The Society for American Archaeology has also compiled a wonderful list of resources for those interested in pursuing Archaeology as a career within the U.S., including a number of good Anthropology-oriented graduate programs and a regular listing of current job openings for archaeologists.  Other listings of job opportunities specifically in Archaeology may be found at or at Yahoo!, which lists academic programs, employment opportunities, FAQs about careers in Archaeology and numerous other resources.

Students can get hands-on work experience by participating in internship programs, either with a local archaeologist (through the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, or as listed above), with a local historical museum (such as the Lycoming County Historical Museum in Williamsport, where we also have regular Work-Study positions), or with other major historical museums, or with museums of natural history or anthropology.

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission runs a Summer Internship Program, with locations in Harrisburg (the State Museum and Commission Headquarters), Ambridge, Birdsboro, Chadds Ford, Ephrata, Erie, Galeton, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Strasburg, Washington Crossing, Weatherly, Womelsdorf, and many others. Possible subject areas include Collections Management, Curator in Archaeology or Zoology/Botany, Field Curator, Exhibitions, Museum Education, Archives, Conservation, Historic Preservation, Publications, History Division - Library, and Marketing, among others.

Although this is not our area of specialty, we can certainly aid you in pursuing such an interest. In this case we would highly recommend a double major with Anthropology/Sociology or History. Further recommendations are listed below.

Summer Field School in Archaeology

In conjunction with the Muncy Historical Society, Lycoming College will hold a 2005 Field School this summer and investigate a portion of the Muncy Canal. The project is Phase I in the development of a heritage park, one that promotes history and nature through interpretative panels, historic facades, exhibits, publications and videos.

Lycoming College students participated in local digs during May Term in 2003 and 2004 working with the Lycoming County Historical Society and the North Central Chapter of the Society of Pennsylvania Archaeology. The May 2003 field school worked at Canfield Island in Riverfront Park along the Susquehanna River in Loyalsock. The dig continued an investigation of the historic and pre-historic cultures of Canfield Island, already begun in previous digs on the island. The May 2004 field school worked at the Thomas Lightfoote Inn, an example of Cultural Resource Management, and at the Snyder Site. Further information about our local history in Williamsport may be found at Robin Van Auken's Web site. Find out more about the 2003 Canfield Island Dig!

Lycoming students earned credit for participation in the dig (along with lab work and classroom work) taught by Robin Van Auken as May Term courses through the History Department:

Hist 258: Intro to North American Archaeology (May 2003)
Hist 259: Methods in American Archaeology (May 2004)
Hist 259: Methods in American Archaeology (June 2005)

What else have we been up to lately? ...Museum Field Trip!

In April 2003, Amber Zellner organized a field trip with the Sociology-Anthropology Society and the Archaeology Program to visit the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia. So on a rainy Saturday, April 5th, we loaded up in two rented vans with a good crew of archaeology and anthropology students plus faculty members Robin Knauth and Robin Van Auken and drove to Philly for the guided tour of exhibits on ancient civilizations of the Egyptians, Etruscans, and Mayans. We also enjoyed exhibits on East Asian culture and Native American cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

UPenn Crew

Stephanie Moreira provided this picture of our crew at the end of the tour (at least all those we could drag out of the Museum Book Store...).

UPenn Brochure
UPenn Mayan
UPenn Greek

Here's the brochure and some other pictures from our trip - of the Mayan and Etruscan exhibits.


For those primarily interested in American Archeology, and wanting to work out a major in this field, the following program of study is recommended (but must be approved individually as an independent major, noting that for an independent major, normally 6 courses at the 300 level or above are required):

  1. Three courses in Archaeology from:

    HIST 258 Intro to North American Archaeology
    HIST 259 Methods in American Archaeology
    REL 226 Biblical Archaeology
    REL 401 Field Archaeology (based on an excavation trip)*
    ART/HIST/REL 470-479 Internship (at a local Historical Museum)
    ART/HIST/ REL N80-89 Independent Study ( project in archaeology)
    *An Archaeological Field School program somewhere in the U.S.

  2. Seven other courses (in consultation with an advisor, depending on interest area) from:

    ART 222W: Survey of Art: Ancient, Medieval and Non-Western Art
    ART 337: Photography II
    ART 343: Computer Graphics for Print Media
    ASTR 102 or 112: Principles of Geology, or ASTR 104: Field Geology
    COMM 223, 348: Video Production
    COMM 230: Desktop Publishing / Photojournalism
    CPTR 345: Computer Graphics
    ECON 225: Environmental Economics
    ECON 240: Economic Geography
    HIST 120: Latin American History
    HIST 226: Colonial America and the Revolutionary Era
    HIST 328: Age of Jefferson and Jackson
    HIST 332: Civil War and Reconstruction
    HIST 442: U.S. Social and Intellectual History to 1877
    HIST 449W: Historical Methods
    MATH 123, 214, 332-333: Statistics
    PSCI 221: Comparative Politics and Geography
    PSCI 225: International Relations
    SOC 114: Intro to Anthropology
    SOC 229W: Cultural Anthropology
    SOC 330: Research Methods in Sociology-Anthropology
    SOC 335: Culture and Personality (psychological anthropology)
    SOC 336: Anthropology of Primitive Religions
    SOC 337: Anthropology of American Indians
    SPAN 311: Hispanic Culture
    Or other courses as approved in advance by the advisory committee.
    Spanish may also be recommended, depending on interest area.

A double major with Anthropology-Sociology or History is highly recommended, depending on interest. If primary interest is in Historical Archeology (colonial period and later), then double major in History. If primary interest is in Pre-Historic Archeology (Native American culture), then double major in Anthro. In the field, however, periods are often mixed, so familiarity with both is helpful!