Anthropology (ANTH) 272

Introduction to Archaeology (Revision 3)

ANTH 272 Course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Anthropology Studies home page

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This course is designed to provide you with an extensive overview of the theories, methods, and practice of archaeology. It examines the nature and aims of archaeology; the methods and material remains used to reconstruct the past; the economic, social, political, and ideological systems of human experience; the biology of people of the past; the causes of culture change; and the place of archaeology in our contemporary world.


The course consists of the following three units:

  • Unit 1: The Framework of Archaeology
  • Unit 2: Discovering the Variety of Human Experience
  • Unit 3: The World of Archaeology


To receive credit in ANTH 272, you must achieve a minimum of D (50 percent) on both the midterm and final examinations and an overall grade of D (50 percent) for the entire course. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Quiz 1 5%
Assignment 1 20%
Midterm Exam 20%
Quiz 2 5%
Assignment 2 30%
Final Exam 20%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Muckle, Robert J., ed. Reading Archaeology: An Introduction. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press Incorporated, 2011.

Renfrew, Colin, and Paul Bahn. Archaeology: Theories, Methods, and Practice. 7th ed. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc., 2016.

Other Materials

All other course materials are provided online via the course homepage.

Additional Course Components

To successfully complete this course, you must watch the following video:

The African Burial Ground: An American Discovery. Produced and directed by David Kutz. Brooklyn: Kutz Television, Inc., 1994.

This video is available in the course Digital Reading Room and from the Athabasca University Library.

Optional Course Components

Several video programs are listed as optional, but highly recommended, viewing for this course. All the videos are either available in the course DRR or from the Athabasca University Library. Although the videos are not required viewing, they will add significantly to your learning experience. If you are unable to view any of these programs, alternative readings are listed in the Study Guide.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, April 27, 2017.

View previous syllabus