Archaeology, the science of reconstructing and understanding past and present cultures from their material remains, is taught in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Marshall University, in the classroom, in the laboratory, and also in the field. Hands-on instruction is strongly encouraged. The department provides the opportunity for students to learn the basic techniques of surveying, excavation and recording, to experience the thrill of discovery, by offering an annual archaeological field school, a three to six credit course (ANT 323), during Summer Session 5. This kind of practical experience is a big asset for those who wish to continue in archaeology as a career.
The sites investigated by the field school in the last twenty plus years cover the span of human occupation in West Virginia, from the Early Archaic, at St-Albans (ca. 6000 BCE, Kanawha County), through the Late Prehistoric, at Snidow (ca. 1250 CE, Mercer County) and Clover (ca. 1580 CE, Cabell County), to the historic period, at the Madie Carroll House in Guyandotte (ca. 1850 CE, Cabell County). In addition to gaining practical knowledge of archaeological field techniques, students learn about our state’s long past, from the earliest Native American nomadic foragers and their journey towards becoming settled farmers, to the first Euro-American and African-American colonists who established the communities we live in today.
No previous experience is required to enroll in ANT 323, only an interest of things past, a curiosity of how we got to where we are today, and a taste for detective work. And yes, getting very dirty in the process. It is hard work, often tedious, but always rewarding.
For more information, contact the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Smith Hall Room 727 or call 304-696-6700.