ANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY
BACHELOR OF ARTS | BACHELOR OF SCIENCE

Anthropology/Archaeology students at Mercyhurst University are provided with training in the broad field of Anthropology, as well as options for specialized training in Archaeology, Bioarchaeology, or Sociocultural Anthropology. Our emphasis on highly individualized mentoring, hands-on instruction, intercultural research, and communication skills affords excellent career flexibility and leads to work and educational opportunities in a wide variety of corporate, government, non-profit, museum, educational, and other settings.

Fast Facts

  • “Anthropologist” and “Archaeologist” both rank among the Best Science Jobs by U.S. News & World Report (2020)
  • Mercyhurst is ranked as a "Top-20 Value" program for a degree in Archaeology by College Values Online

  • Our program emphasizes close mentoring and hands-on training inside and outside of the classroom — students will learn excavation methods, skeletal and artifact analysis, ethnographic research, traditional skills, and gain experience in six laboratory facilities dedicated to multiple types of artifact and data analysis.

Learning Outcomes

Goal (1) Understand the concepts and methods of anthropology as a four-field discipline. 
Outcome: Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental concepts and field/laboratory methods in Anthropology/Archaeology.

Goal (2) Have effective communication skills, including oral and written examples. 
Outcome: Demonstrate effective communication skills, including oral and written presentations of synthesized/analyzed Anthropological/Archaeological materials and literature.

Goal (3) Demonstrate critical engagement with the discipline’s theoretical and ethical concerns. 
Outcome: Distinguish, synthesize, and evaluate the theoretical and ethical underpinnings of Anthropology or Archaeology.

Goal (4) Apply foundational concepts and methods in an analysis of diverse problems and contexts. 
Outcome: Critically apply Anthropological/Archaeological concepts and data to new contexts.

Goal (5) Conduct independent Anthropological research under faculty supervision.
Outcome: Design and Conduct Anthropological Research using appropriate techniques and procedures.

Anthropology/Archaeology and Respecting Human Rights

The Department of Anthropology/Archaeology has a firm commitment to equity, social justice, and human rights for the world’s peoples. We believe that human diversity is both historically and culturally integral to the fabric of our society, and we explore systems of global economics, policies, and unique histories that shape the lived experiences of people in our communities and around the world (in the past, and at present). We support institutions and initiatives that recognize and uphold the full humanity of all individuals, and actively promote social changes that make the world safer and more just for all.

State Authorization

This program may fulfill a portion of the requirements leading to licensure within this field. Please visit the State Authorization webpage to review the requirements for licensure by state or program.

CONSERVATION LABORATORY

The Conservation Laboratory is dedicated to the assessment, documentation, stabilization, and preservation of materials in archaeological field and laboratory environments. Staff and students focus on preventative conservation of durable inorganic and non-durable organic objects with the goal of providing stable environments for artifacts by regularly monitoring facility and collection conditions, and utilizing appropriate archival-quality materials for object storage. A freeze dryer, a walk-in climate controlled storage facility, and a Parylene deposition system are available for use.

HISTORICAL ARTIFACT AND GRAVESTONE LABORATORY

Specializing in the analysis of materials and cemeteries dating to the post-European Contact period, students study and analyze materials such as ceramic wares, glass bottles, beads, and cemeteries and grave markers to learn about our more recent past. Students work with local cemeteries to develop and operationalize gravestone restoration and analysis projects. These hands-on experiences provide excellent career preparation and training as students learn how to collaborate and research in a laboratory setting.

TED RATHBUN OSTEOLOGY LABORATORY

With our extensive comparative collections of human and faunal skeletal elements, students learn the most up-to-date analytical techniques to determine species, age, sex, health, and manner of death from archaeological and forensic human and animal remains. A comprehensive in-house library complements the collections.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROCESSING LABORATORY

Our Processing Lab is the first stop for artifacts recovered during our archaeological field projects. Students clean, label, and catalog archaeological specimens while learning proper artifact curation and database creation methods. Once this is accomplished, the artifacts are then sent to one of our specialty labs for analysis.

LITHIC ARTIFACT ANALYSIS LABORATORY

Dedicated to the analysis of chipped- and ground-stone artifacts, students collect data that informs on the manufacture and use of stone tools. Students experiment with stone tool replication and uses, and our collection of artifacts from around the world represents 300,000 of stone tool manufacture.