Archaeology is the "cultural anthropology" of the human past. It uses scientific fieldwork and laboratory techniques to investigate past human societies and the processes and effects of cultural evolution through the study of material remains. Western's Anthropology—Archaeology program is active in regional prehistoric and historic archaeology. Undergraduate participation in fieldwork is encouraged, and necessary if one is to enter the field professionally.
Anthropology Department faculty members carry out research in Latin America, North America, Asia, The Pacific, and Eastern Europe, and are dedicated to excellence in teaching. The Department faculty have earned awards for distinguished contributions to undergraduate education and research, have written nationally-disseminated textbooks, and developed curriculum designed to provide extensive opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning experiences working with clients in community social-services agencies, and through participatory research.
The Anthropology Department provides training in four sub-disciplines:
- Cultural Anthropology
- Physical Anthropology
- Anthropological Linguistics
Beyond the Classroom
Western's Anthropology curriculum is designed to provide extensive opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning experiences working with clients in community social-services agencies, and through participatory research.
There are opportunities for field work and library research in each of the four subfields of Anthropology. The department engages in a series of funded projects, providing a wide diversity of research opportunities, and the library holdings include resources for those pursuing cross-culture and culture-area research. Archaeological field school surveys are conducted on alternate summers.
Students create internships that suit their specific interests to maximize their chances of long-term career success and satisfaction. Internships often include local museums and organizations, but can also be found outside the area or abroad.
Western’s Anthropology Club is a group of students and faculty who promote interest in the discipline of Anthropology. The club plans and promotes speakers, trips, and events which relate to all four of the subdivisions within Anthropology. The main annual event is the planning and hosting of the Anthropology Conference, which is held in conjunction with Scholar’s Week.
Careers and Graduate Studies
Students earning a degree in Anthropology will be able to apply their learning to a variety of graduate degrees and careers locally and internationally in both the public and private sectors. Opportunities may be found in teaching (public school, community college, and college), federal and state agencies, social services, applied health setting, museums, and international business.
Employers of Recent Western Graduates:
- Gifford Pinchot National Forest: Archaeological Technician
- Google maps: Visual Data Specialist
- Nagoya International School (Japan)
- Rosario Archaeology: Field Archaeologist
- Western Washington University: Graduate Research Assistant
- Yellowstone National Park: Park Ranger
- International Studies
- Museum Curator
- Overseas Consultant