Faculty of Arts


Field Methods in Archaeology


This course introduces students to archaeological fieldwork. It teaches a range of field and lab methods through practical experience and theoretical investigation. We begin the semester meeting in the archaeology lab preparing for the fieldwork component of the course. That fieldwork component will take place during the mid-semester break (3rd to 17th of April) on Ahuahu Great Mercury Island. During the rest of the semester we will investigate the theoretical underpinnings of various field and lab methods and the legislative framework for archaeological practice in New Zealand and globally.

The assessment for the course is designed to reflect the research process of archaeology. Assessments include participating in fieldwork and discussion sessions, writing a report on the fieldwork and lab analysis, and giving a group presentation.

By the end of the Semester you should be able to confidently engage in debate on the method and theory of archaeological field practice. Learning objectives are divided into two parts. The first are learned during the fieldwork and include practical skills such as excavating, survey and recording and describing archaeological remains and ecological contexts.

The second set of learning objectives is achieved during class time in Semester One. These learning objectives involve investigating key theoretical and methodological issues that drive developments in archaeological field practice. This includes understanding landscape archaeology and formation theory, making field observations and interpretations, heritage legislation and writing a research essay.

Class limits information for 2020: Places are limited to 20 students.

First priority: students majoring in Anthropology or Anthropological Science, ranked by GPA in Anthro 200 and their two best other Anthropology or Anthropological Science courses. Second priority: students majoring in other disciplines, ranked by GPA in Anthro 200 and their two best other Anthropology or Anthropological Science courses. A minimum GPA of 5 (“B”) is required.


Coursework only


Availability 2021

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Professor Thegn Ladefoged


Recommended Reading


Coursework only


ANTHRO 317: 15.0 points


ANTHRO 200 passed with a grade of B- or higher




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