UC San Diego SearchMenu

Anthropological Archaeology at UCSD

Program Description

The Department of Anthropology offers a broad approach to the study of the archaeology of complex societies. By taking a worldwide view of the rise, maintenance, and collapse of ancient complex social organizations, we seek to present a theoretically integrated curriculum in the fields of archaeology and prehistory. Geographical interests of the current faculty include the Middle East, Mesoamerica, and Andean South America. Our theoretical foci include the origins of the state, the organization exchange, the impacts of long-distance interaction, diasporas and colonization, and Biblical archaeology.

The undergraduate program in anthropological archaeology incorporates comparative introductory courses; more advanced theoretical and topical courses in our areas of expertise, field schools in Jordan and Peru, and archaeologically oriented study abroad programs in Egypt, Mexico, and Central America.  Undergraduate students also may gain research experience working in our laboratories or at the Museum of Man.

Our graduate concentration in anthropological archaeology is aimed at students committed to carrying out fieldwork. New archaeological laboratory facilities at UCSD provide graduate students with lab space, offices, study collections, library, computer facilities, and other research tools. The Ph.D. program in anthropological archaeology consists of three phases.  During the first two years, graduate students take four core-courses focusing on archaeological theory, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology.  At this time students also begin to conduct original research, write an M.A. paper, and take additional courses in their area of specialty.  After earning the M.A., graduate students take a variety of specialty courses in anthropological archaeology and related scientific and humanistic disciplines designed to prepare them for research. They also write detailed dissertation proposals.  This second phase ends in year three or four with advancement to candidacy.  The third and final stage incorporates original field and laboratory research and writing the dissertation. Our recent Ph.D.s, current graduate students, and faculty conduct fieldwork in Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, India, Sri Lanka, Iceland, Peru, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Please note, we do not study ancient California.