Anthropology (ANTH) 476

Archaeology: Principles in Practice (Revision 4)

ANTH 476 Course website

Revision 4 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: ANTH 277 or its equivalent, and 3 additional credits in a senior (300/400) level archaeology course.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Anthropology Studies home page

Course website

ANTH 476 has a Challenge for Credit option.


Archaeologists have been romanticized and popularized as daredevil explorers of the exotic. In actuality, modern archaeologists constantly confront new ground as they devise a variety of unique tools and solutions to illuminate the actions and beliefs of extinct societies.

ANTH 476 explores the processes and goals of archaeological research. Both excavation and non-excavation techniques are examined to reconstruct ancient lifeways: subsistence, social systems, and religious beliefs.

Written assignments use case studies to give students the opportunity to apply the principles of archaeological interpretation.


  • The course consists of the following five units.
  • Unit 1: Archaeology and Anthropology
  • Unit 2: Recovering Archaeological Data
  • Unit 3: Establishing Chronological Controls
  • Unit 4: Reconstructing the Past
  • Unit 5: Challenges to Archaeology


To receive credit for ANTH 476, you must complete three quizzes, four written assignments and a final exam, and achieve a minimum of “D” (50 percent) on the final exam and an overall grade of “D” (50 percent) for the entire course.

Telephone Quiz 1 3%
Assignment 1: Chez Vous: Le Projet du Garbage 10%
Assignment 2: Interpreting Stratigraphy 15%
Telephone Quiz 2 3%
Assignment 3: Interpreting the Seasonality of Site Occupation 15%
Assignment 4: A Critique of the McIntyre Site Report 20%
Telephone Quiz 3 4%
Final Examination 30%
Total 100%

The final examination 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


Johnston, Richard B. 1984. The McIntyre Site: Archaeology, Subsistence and Environment. Mercury Series. Paper 126. Ottawa: National Museum of Man.

Smith, P. J., and D. Mitchell, Eds. 1998. Bringing Back the Past: Historical Perspectives on Canadian Archaeology. Mercury Series. Paper 158. Hull, QC: Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Thomas, David H., and Robert L. Kelly. 2006. Archaeology. 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Other materials

The course materials also include a course manual, study guide, assignment manual and reading file.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ANTH 476 challenge registration students must complete three assignments, a report and a final exam and obtain at least a “D” (50 percent) on the exam and a "D" (50 per cent) on the overall course work. The weightings of each activity are listed below

Assignment 1 (Analysis of garbage) Assignment 2 (Interpreting stratigraphy) Assignment 3 (Interpreting seasonality) Critical review of a site report Final Exam Total
10% 15% 15% 20% 40% 100%

The final exam is a Take Home exam.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

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 4, March 25, 2008.

View previous syllabus