Ancient history is a puzzle made up of innumerable fragments—pieces of bone, pottery, stone, and metal; remnants of architecture and monuments; residues of food; and traces of other things. Archaeology is the field of study that provides the tools to discover these fragments and piece them together to reconstruct a picture of the ancient world and to illuminate the stories of past peoples. An accurate understanding of the past is critical for developing a better present and future.

The archaeology certificate is designed to help students obtain a global and interdisciplinary perspective on archaeology and human culture and to gain many of the skills needed to analyze archaeological materials and conduct archaeological field investigations. Through their participation in the archaeology certificate program, students acquire an understanding of how past societies in different regions of the world have successfully or, in many cases, unsuccessfully dealt with adaptation to their environment and interaction with other communities. Students also gain a better appreciation of the diversity of human culture and increased respect for the differences that have resulted from millennia of social, economic, political and ideological developments. Students are able to explore the origins of subsistence strategies, trade, technology, belief systems, and conflict that are still relevant to our modern world, as well as ever changing global economic and political situations. 

The archaeology certificate provides an interdisciplinary linkage among courses in several departments and stimulates students to think about similar topics from different academic and theoretical perspectives. Through the curriculum, students get training specific to archaeology. In addition to providing students with a mechanism for developing an understanding of archaeology in its broadest sense, the certificate provides a strong intellectual foundation and skills for future careers and graduate study in archaeology and related fields. Students who successfully complete the certificate, along with a B.A. or B.S. degree from UW–Madison, improve their competitiveness in graduate school applications and, more importantly, have documentation that they are qualified for entry-level employment opportunities in archaeology.

For further information on the archaeology certificate, including a list of core faculty, please see the Department of Anthropology website.

Students wishing to declare an archaeology certificate should go to the Department of Anthropology, 5240 William H. Sewell Social Science Building. The telephone number for the department is 608-262-2866.

7 courses and 21 credits

Credits must be distributed in at least three SUBJECTs, and must meet these requirements:

Introductory course

Complete one:3
Archaeology and the Prehistoric World
Principles of Biological Anthropology
Principles of Archaeology
Total Credits3

Area courses

Complete 6 credits from:6
Prehistoric Europe
Topics in Archaeology
The Emergence of Human Culture
The Origins of Civilization
Prehistory of Africa
Archaeology of Wisconsin
The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece
The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Rome
History of Islamic Art and Architecture
Early Chinese Art: From Antiquity to the Tenth Century
Pre-Columbian Art
Cities and Sanctuaries of Ancient Greece
Special Topics in Art History 1
Introduction to Biblical Archaeology
The Greeks
The Romans
Eureka! Technology and Practice in the Ancient World
Biblical Archaeology
The Ancient Mediterranean City
A History of Greek Civilization
A History of Rome
Introduction to Byzantine History and Civilization
History of Africa, 1500 to 1870


Complete 6 credits from:6
Hominoid Evolution
Human Skeletal Anatomy
Archaeological Chemistry
Ancient Technology and Invention
Bones for the Archaeologist
Archaeological Methods of Curation
Plants and Humans
Evolutionary Biology
Topics in Classical Archaeology
Climatic Environments of the Past
An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Practical Applications of GPS Surveying
Landforms and Landscapes of North America
Quantitative Methods in Geographical Analysis
Introduction to Cartography
An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Glacial and Pleistocene Geology
The Quaternary Period
Past Climates and Climatic Change
Introduction to Geologic Structures
Earth Materials
Landforms-Topics and Regions
Glacial and Pleistocene Geology
Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
Practical Applications of GPS Surveying
Introduction to Applied Geophysics
Evolutionary Biology
Total Credits6

Field course

ANTHRO 370 Field Course in Archaeology3-6
Total Credits3-6


Choose from:3-4
Ancient Technology and Invention 2
Undergraduate Seminar 3
Total Credits3-4

Residence and Quality of Work 4

2.000 GPA on all certificate-approved courses
11 credits in the certificate, in residence

Undergraduate/Special Student Certificate

This certificate is intended to be completed in the context of an undergraduate degree and for those seeking this certificate that is preferred. For students who have substantially completed this certificate at UW–Madison (at least 12 credits) and may need one or two courses to complete the certificate, they may do so immediately after completion of the bachelor’s degree by enrolling in the course as a University Special (nondegree) student. The certificate must be completed within a year of completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students should keep in mind that University Special students have the last registration priority and that may limit availability of desired courses. Financial aid is not available when enrolled as a University Special student to complete an undergraduate certificate. 

1. acquire specialized training in archaeological research, which may include: obtaining basic knowledge of and skills in observational methods and recording of information for a variety of lines of archaeological evidence, putting these abilities into practice in the classroom and outside of the classroom, developing research questions and the analytical skills necessary to address them, strengthening archaeological interpretations through critical thinking and reference to empirical  evidence, gaining experience in considering a problem, synthesizing information from disparate sources, and evaluating contrasting arguments, being able to distinguish between empirical research and speculation, communicating archaeological findings through written and oral expression.

2.  obtain comparative global knowledge of archaeology, material culture, and the evolution of people’s relationships with the physical world.

3. become aware of the ethical practice of archaeology and heritage preservation.

4. synthesize information relevant to archaeological research across multiple disciplines.

5. gain an appreciation of cultural diversity through time and space.

Students wishing to receive advising for the archaeology certificate should go to the Department of Anthropology, 5240 William H. Sewell Social Science Building. The telephone number for the department is 608-262-2866.


  • Katherine Bowie
    Cultural anthropology, Southeast Asia, Thailand

  • Henry T. Bunn
    Archaeology, emergence of culture, behavioral ecology, East Africa

  • Jerome Camal
    Cultural anthropology, ethnomusicology, Caribbean

  • Sarah Clayton
    Archaeology, Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan

  • Falina Enriquez
    Cultural anthropology, ethnomusicology, Brazil

  • John Hawks
    Biological anthropology, paleoanthropology, anthropological genomics, South Africa

  • J. Mark Kenoyer
    Archaeology, South Asia, Harappa, craft production

  • Nam C. Kim
    Archaeology, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, complex societies, warfare

  • Maria Lepowsky
    Cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, Oceania

  • Richard McFarland
    Biological anthropology, primatology, behavioral ecology

  • Larry Nesper
    Cultural anthropology, legal anthropology, North America, Wisconsin

  • Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney
    Cultural anthropology, East Asia, Japan

  • Travis Pickering
    Biological anthropology, taphonomy, South Africa

  • Sissel Schroeder
    Archaeology, historical ecology, Eastern North America, complex societies

  • Amy Stambach
    Cultural anthropology, East Africa
  • Karen Strier
    Biological anthropology, primatology, behavioral ecology, Brazil

  • Claire Wendland
    Cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, Africa, Malawi

  • Zhou Yongming
    Cultural anthropology, East Asia, China, development

Academic Staff

  • Elizabeth Leith, Senior Academic Curator

    Museum anthropology, protohistoric, European trade, historical archaeology

Affiliate faculty

Administrative Staff

For general information:

Emeritus faculty

  • Kenneth George
    Cultural anthropology, Southeast Asia, Indonesia

  • Sharon Hutchinson
    Cultural anthropology, Africa

  • Anatoly Khazanov
    Cultural anthropology
  • Herbert Lewis
    Cultural anthropology, history of anthropology
  • T. Douglas Price
    Archaeology, Archaeological chemistry, Europe

  • Frank Salomon
    Cultural anthropology, South America

  • James Stoltman
    Archaeology, North America, Wisconsin