Artifacts, technology, and archaeology

6 credits

Objects have always been central to the way humans live their lives and how societies function.  Ancient ceramic storage vessels, stone tools, coins, cylinder seals, sowing needles made from bones – these and many other types of artifacts represent ancient innovations.  Past humans used technologies like kilns and drills to create objects that then are themselves deployed to enhance human work.  At the same time, artifacts hold a wide variety of emotional, artistic, political, social, and many other meanings and significances.  This course introduces how archaeologists investigate ancient artifacts and ancient technologies through a variety of interdisciplinary theories and methods in the study of past material culture, while centering the human experience of these objects.  The methods that archaeologists use today also include innovative digital humanities and other techniques including 3D scanning, chemical/geological analysis, drones, and cloud databases.  In this discussion-based course, students will read about and discuss artifacts and technology, old and new, while gaining hands-on experience through an individual research project on artifacts from Armenia in the South Caucasus, both physical objects and digital representations.  If possible, we may also study East Asian objects from local museums.  This is an introductory course, no prior experience is necessary and students from all backgrounds are welcome.

100% coursework