CCOG for ATH 102 Spring 2024

Course Number:
ATH 102
Course Title:
Introduction to Archaeology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces archaeology as the anthropological study of humans in the past. Considers archaeological theories and methods related to site surveying, mapping, excavation, or cultural resource management. Examines systems of power and social inequalities in ancient societies from an anthropological perspective. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

ATH 102 classes are taught F2F, remotely and online. To be successful, students should read and write at the college level.  ATH  101-104 are standalone courses and do not have to be taken in sequence.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Discuss archaeological methods and theories used to evaluate artifacts and other data.
  2. Describe the impact of human beings on the environment over time and in different ecological settings.
  3. Discuss ethical issues related to cultural resource management from an anthropological perspective.
  4. Discuss systems of power and social inequalities in ancient societies from an anthropological perspective.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

This course is a survey course that provides a broad and general introduction to the sub-field of archaeology. Archaeology focuses on the study of human cultures in the past. In addition to studying the cultures of past societies, archaeological methods can also be used to study historic or even contemporary cultures. The course covers the archeology of societies in Europe, Egypt, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas and examines systems of power in ancient societies and how factors such as colonialism, military conquest, patriarchy or racism impacted these societies. The course also considers the ethical issues of doing archaeological research related to CRM (cultural resource management) and examines social inequalities in ancient state societies from an anthropological perspective. By taking this course, students will develop critical and analytical skills to analyze artifacts and the fossil record. They will also gain experience in intellectual problem solving by speculating about the rise and fall of past civilizations or by exploring different archaeological concepts, theories and methods. Another important aspect of the course is the study of the history of the domestication of plants and animals. Students will also examine systems of power or ethical issues related to the origin and development of social inequalities in ancient societies, and develop more cultural awareness and appreciation for the diversity of human thought and experience in the past as well as the present.

Aspirational Goals

  • Describe cultural differences between societies of the past
  • Apply anthropological and archaeological theories and methods to the study of archaeological sites and past civilizations
  • Evaluate the impact of social stratification and systems of power revealed in the archaeological record
  • Discuss ethical issues related to cultural resource management and ethical issues of doing archaeological excavation

Course Activities and Design

Course activities may include any of the following:

  • lectures
  • film viewing
  • presentations
  • guest speakers
  • discussions
  • short papers
  • field projects
  • community based learning

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies may include any of the following:

  • exams (in class or take home)
  •  term papers 
  • quizzes
  •  short papers or reports
  •  student presentations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Physical and Cultural Evolution and Development
  • Material Culture
  • Cultural Resource Management
  • Cross-cultural Analysis and Comparison
  • Ancient Systems of Power and Privilege
  • Race, Gender and Social Marginalization in the Past


  • Cultural Evolution
  • Cultural Diffusion
  • Cultural Marginalization
  • Cultural History


  • Time
  • Cultural Evolution
  • Cultural Ecology
  • Surveying
  • Excavation
  • Mapping


  • read and write at the college level