Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 2
Hours: 6 laboratory per week (72 total per quarter)
Advisory: UC transferability is limited to 3 units maximum for ANTH 16L, 17L & 18L; not open to students with credit in ANTH 8LX.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will practice and apply understandings of archaeological laboratory methods and techniques of archaeology, including cataloging, care and analysis of artifacts, bone recognition, and archaeological excavation.
  • Students will learn how to critically analyze and interpret laboratory data gathered from archaeological fieldwork.
  • Students will apply anthropological principles for solving human problems on the local, regional and world scales.


An introduction to intermediate level laboratory methods and techniques of archaeology using the scientific method, including cataloging, care and analysis of artifacts, bone recognition, and archaeological excavation. This course will further develop concepts within an anthropological research framework, focusing on guided laboratory analysis of active archaeology research projects. Students develop expertise in detailed laboratory research and write about the techniques, tools, laboratory terminology and processes of laboratory research at an intermediate level. Students will use archaeology vocabulary in verbal and written class reports based on active research projects.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. construct and modify a catalog of artifacts.
B. analyze and classify subcategories of artifacts in order to understand temporal periods or behaviors in the past.
C. differentiate data to be used to answer research questions.
D. apply these understandings to create the reconstruction and understanding of prehistoric culture.
E. debate the outcomes of the research.

Course Content

A. Introducing artifact types
B. Processing of artifacts from collections
C. Classification and typology
D. Archaeological project introduction
E. Beginning materials analysis
F. Database formation: Access vs. Excel
G. Chipped stone technology
1. Video: Bradley Flint-Knapping
2. Manufacture of lithics
3. Analysis of lithics
H. Groundstone
I. Ceramics
1. Pottery production
2. Pottery analysis
3. Geochemical analysis
a. XRF
b. Mass-spectrometry
c. Petrography
J. Historic artifacts: metal and glass; pipe stems
K. Shells
L. Illustration: drawing/drafting
M. Osteology and zooarchaeology (animal remains)
1. Forensics
2. Faunal specimen preparation
3. Faunal analysis
N. Geophysics: ground penetrating radar
O. Plant remains
1. Flotation
2. Paleoethnobotany
P. Perishables: basketry, textiles, wood, hides, and others
Q. Relational databases
R. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
S. Building artifact databases for analysis
T. Student projects: materials analysis

Lab Content

A. Laboratory exercises and demonstrations: Weekly lab exercises. Each lab exercise may include individual or group participation and covers assigned reading and lecture topics.
1. Pottery analysis
2. Lithic analysis
3. Preparation of samples for analysis
4. Cataloguing artifacts
5. Materials identification

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught via Foothill Global Access, on-going access to computer with email software and hardware; email address.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Ability to learn and practice archaeological skills in laboratory and sites
B. Skill in excavating and recording information
C. Discussion of work performed
D. Written report

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Lecture
B. Discussion
C. Oral presentations
D. Laboratory

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Sutton, Mark, and Brooke Arkush. Archaeology Laboratory Methods: An Introduction. 6th ed. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2014.

NOTE: Although this text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains a seminal text in this area of study.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Weekly examination of different subjects.

B. Using real data students conduct independent research assignments on data collected from field projects and present preliminary analysis of artifacts.