Students desiring a career in the field of archaeology have the option of selecting a program leading to the Associate in Arts degree, or two programs leading to Certificates of Achievement, depending upon their needs and desires.

The Palomar Archaeology Program, with its A.A. Degree and Certificates of Achievement, is oriented toward three audiences:

  • ArtifactWashing1.jpg (11431 bytes)students who seek immediate or eventual employment in Cultural Resource Management as an excavator, surveyor, lab assistant, and/or cartographer
  • students who wish to gain valuable technical field and lab skills along the way toward a B.A. or advanced degree in Anthropology/Archaeology
  • interested members of the public who would like to work on archaeological projects as an avocation and desire some training, e.g., the Excavation Certificate

In addition to standard excavation, surveying, and laboratory skills, the program offers training in database management, AutoCAD, GPS, and GIS.


ANTH 110 Introduction to Archaeology:  Focuses on history and method and theory of archaeology as well as selected aspects of world archaeology.  The class is often taught with an exciting CD entitled, Revealing Archaeology, which includes reading, online exercises and some class assignments.  It focuses on the basic strategies used by archaeologists to explore the past, including exciting virtual excavation and virtual survey programs that are very realistic.  The class is currently taught by Professors Jim Eighmey, Betsy Pain, and Gulay Dinckan.  This class is offered both Fall and Spring semesters.  It is sometimes offered online.

ANTH 120 Archaeological Excavation:  Focuses on basic techniques of surface collection; unit layout and unit excavation techniques; wet and dry screening; identifying, sorting, and bagging of artifacts; collection of radiocarbon, macrobotanical, and pollen samples; flotation; unit level record keeping; unit photography; unit soil profiles; and field journal. Also includes material on the phases of Cultural Resource Management, research designs, site significance, and discussion of human remains (NAGPRA; California Public Resources Code). Native American guests are sometimes invited to the excavation site.  Since the Fall of 2003, the class has been working at SDI-12510/H, a 3000-5000 year old Archaic Period site and a early 20th century homestead in San Marcos. In the Fall of 2008, advanced students helped excavated the Sikes Adobe in Rancho Bernardo as a part of the advanced class ANTH 205 (see below).  See Fall 2008 Excavation Web Page for Details.  Offered every Fall at the Rancho Penasquitos Adobe with both prehistoric and historic excavations.

ANTH 121 Cultural Resource Management:  Provides background and practical knowledge about the legal and operational framework of applied archaeology or cultural resource management (CRM). Historical and legal contexts focus on key legislation, such as the National Historic Preservation Act and the California Environmental Quality Act. The operational context focuses on the phases of CRM research in the context of technological innovations, budget and time constraints, Native American consultation, and the goals of CRM technical reports. Offered every two years in the Spring. The next class is in Spring 2015.

ANTH 197 Topics in Archaeology:  Provides instruction and experience  dealing with a variety of types of prehistoric and historic artifact types in the Palomar Archaeology Lab (MD-121).  It can be taken for 1-3 units (1 unit = 48 lab hours). Offered Fall and Spring.

ANTH 205 Prehistoric Archaeological Excavation:  Provides additional experience in techniques of archaeological excavation as shown in ANTH 120 with a focus on prehistoric features and artifacts. Advanced students serve as mentors to beginning students. Advanced students produce a unit excavation report or other archaeological project. Meets concurrently with ANTH 120 and 206. In the Fall of 2008, advanced students helped excavated the Sikes Adobe in Rancho Bernard. See Fall 2008 Excavation Web Page for Details. Offered every Fall.

ANTH 206 Historic Archaeological Excavation:  Provides additional experience in techniques of archaeological excavation as shown in ANTH 120 with a focus on historic features and artifacts.  Advanced students serve as mentors to beginning students. Meets concurrently with ANTH 120 and 205. In the Fall of 2008, advanced students helped excavated the Sikes Adobe in Rancho Bernard. See Fall 2008 Excavation Web Page for Details. Offered every Fall.

ANTH 210 Archaeological Surveying: Provides basic instruction in the use of the compass and 7.5 topographic maps; field survey techniques; site recordation; filing of computerized site forms; use of Ashtech ProMark2 GPS for locating site datum and site features; and preparation of a site survey report. Course consists of 32 hrs in the classroom & 32 hours in the field at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park where students conduct survey for State Parks. Students also learn how a records search is done at the South Coastal Information Center. See Cuyamaca 2008 Web Page for details  Offered every two years in the Spring.  The next class Spring 2016.

ANTH 215 Archaeological Laboratory Analysis:  Provides basic instruction and experiential labs for the identification, analysis, and report write-up of shellfish remains, faunal remains, ceramics, and stone tools and debitage. Basic data on floral (botanical) analysis  and protein residue analysis are also provided. Other topics include radiocarbon dating, obsidian sourcing and obsidian hydration dating, collection processing and curation, artifact illustration and photography, and database management. Students are encouraged to use MS Excel for the production of tables and charts. Except for those focusing on curation, most students produce an artifact analysis report with tables, charts, and graphs. Offered every two years in the Spring. The next class is Spring 2015.

ANTH 220 Advanced Archaeological Survey:  A new course to be taught in the Spring of 2000. It focuses on: 1) the use of Ashtech ProMark2 GPS hardware and software, including downloading base station data, differential correction, and mapping; 2) the use of a total station laser transit and AutoCad software. Each student has a site mapping project. Course involves at least 32 hours in the field at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.  Meets concurrently with ANTH 210.  See Cuyamaca 2008 Web Page for details Offered every two years in the Spring. The next class is Spring 2016.

ANTH 225 -- Historical Archaeology:  Method and theory of historical archaeology, including archival research, artifact identification, and report preparation.  Training in the location and interpretation of archival documents, such as Spanish land grand documents, homestead patents, Sanborn fire insurance maps, assessor's records, and historic topographic maps.  A field trip to local historical archives in San Diego is also included.  Training in the identification of ceramic, glass, and metal artifacts and their associated function, method of manufacture, manufacturer, and temporal distribution is also an important part of the course.  This class is offered every two years in the Fall. Currently offered Fall 2014.

ANTH 297 Special Problems in Archaeology:  Students can pursue individual research  projects or work in the the Palomar Archaeology Lab. Offered Fall and Spring.

ANTH 298 Internship in Archaeology:  Opportunities for an unpaid internship in the Palomar Archaeology Lab (MD-121), at the San Diego Museum of Man, with the San Diego Archaeological Center and other museums, with local Cultural Resource Management firms, and government agencies.  Offered Fall and Spring.

ANTH 100L -- Biological Anthropology Lab.  This course teaches students how to recognize the various parts of the mammalian vertebrate skeleton, including the human skeleton.  This knowledge is very useful to have in the field as the archaeologist often encounters both animal and human bone.  Human bone is subject to certain California and Federal laws and it is important to be able to recognize such bones in the field This course is offered every semester.

ANTH 101 -- Introduction to Biological Anthropology with Lab.  This class is a 4 unit class that combines ANTH 100 (Biological Anthropology) and ANTH 100L (Biological Anthropology Lab). 

CE 150 -- Internship in Archaeology:  This program began in the Fall of 1999.  Interested students in the Palomar Archaeology Program can sign up for 2-4 units of CE 150 and obtain internships at county Cultural Resource Management (CRM) or environmental firms, museums, and government agencies.  Most internships are unpaid, but paid positions are occasionally available.  To date, students have interned at Tierra Environmental Services, ASM Affiliates, ESquaredM, California State Parks (San Diego, Cuyamaca, and Anza Borrego offices), San Diego Archaeological Center (SDAC), PanGIS, the South Coastal Information Center (SCIC), the Barona Museum and Cultural Center, the San Diego Museum of Man, and the Palomar Archaeology LabThis is offered Fall and Spring semesters.

Certificate Program in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

It is strongly urged that those pursuing a career in archaeology expand their repertoire of skills by 1) taking such classes as ANTH 220 (advanced archaeological surveying which focuses on total station mapping and GPS skills), and 2) obtaining a certificate in GIS. 

GIS is a generic set of skills that links maps to data and allows for spatial analysis in a wide range of disciplines, including environmental planning (natural and cultural resources), urban planning, marketing, education, transportation, engineering, health and human services, crime fighting, mapping and publishing, utilities and more.  Even if you don't become an archaeologist, possessing GIS skills will serve you well in virtually any scientific, planning, administrative or business enterprise you might work for.  The basic set of courses is outlined below:

GEOG 120 -- Introduction to GIS and GIS Software (4 units)
GEOG 132 -- Database Management and Data Acquisition (4 units)

GEOG 134 -- GIS Applications and Data Acquisition
GEOG 136 -- Intermediate ArcGIS:  GIS Analysis (2 units)
GEOG 138 -- GIS Internship (2 units), which can be in archaeology OR
GEOG 139 -- GIS Specialist Internship 
Plus one Elective:  CSIT 150 (Intro to SQL), CSWB 120 (JavaScript) or DT/ENGR 110 (AutoCAD)


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This page was last updated on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
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