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Archaeology

Focus

UNM Archaeology is a national and international leader in archeological theory and practice. We train future generations of educated, well-rounded, innovative and ethical researchers and teachers of anthropological archaeology. We will continue to prepare our students to contribute significantly to the body of archeological theory and knowledge, to succeed in obtaining external funding for research and training, and to obtain relevant employment in academic, government, and public sector archeology. Our goal is to build on our strengths, which include unusual depth and breadth of faculty, all of whom have active fieldwork projects involving student researcher in the Americas, Western Europe, and in the Pacific.

Strengths

Several areas highlight the strength of Archaeology at UNM. We contribute to the comparative study of agriculturally based societies and of the development of both early and more recent complex societies, often in fragile physical environments in both the New and Old Worlds and including consequential questions of culture contact. UNM Archaeology is known for its research on prehistoric foraging systems including, adaptation and colonization under both Pleistocene and early to late Holocene environmental conditions. We are all involved in on-going research on human interactions with diverse environments, and adaptations to change, both cultural and non-cultural. The Archaeology program includes a diversity of theoretical perspectives and a wealth of methodological expertise, including cutting edge field techniques and laboratory analyses. We train students in historical and evolutionary ecology; lithic and ceramic technology; archeological unit definition and construction; paleo-environmental reconstruction; interpretation of prehistoric style and identity; and the study of past belief systems.

Educational Program

Undergraduate concentrators in Archaeology are taught broadly in theory, method, and the archaeological records of various world culture areas, and are afforded the opportunity to participate in research through our field schools, laboratories, and other faculty research sites in New Mexico and elsewhere. Our baccalaureate students are prepared to make successful applications for graduate school admission and scholarships and/or to seek employment in cultural resource management, public anthropology, or as advocates for historic preservation. The graduate program provides intensive education and training in the methods of archeological field and lab research and we encourage students to obtain expertise in allied fields such as geology, geography, or biology. Our goal is to produce students who are able to think critically and independently, to identify significant research problems, to frame them as workable, funded proposals, and to carryout original research leading to the Ph.D. or M.A. in Public Archaeology. This is done in the context of courses, specialized seminars and faculty field and lab research projects. Current research sites include Chaco Canyon (NM), Galisteo Basin (NM), Rio Grande Valley (NM), Alaska, Rocky Mountain region (CO, WY), N. Spain, Belize, N. Peru, and the Pacific (Hawaiian Islands, Easter Island, the Society Islands, and Micronesia).

Articulation

Archaeology is committed to linking our focus, strengths, and educational objectives with both Ethnology and Evolutionary Anthropology. Some points of intra-departmental articulation include: contemporary and historical studies of the societies and peoples of the Greater Southwest, as well as Latin America and Iberia; research on behavioral strategies among foraging groups and cross-disciplinary research in paleoanthropology; the application of behavioral and evolutionary ecology to prehistoric cultures; public and community anthropology; and the material expression of cultural identity and transmission. The Archaeology program has major areas of cross-disciplinary collaboration, including research and teaching with geologists, geospatial analysts, biologists, paleo-ecologists, soil scientists, demographers, modelers, and material scientists, at UNM and other institutions worldwide.