The Anthropology Program at Texas A&M University offers students training in archaeology, the study of the human past through its material remains (e.g., artifacts, paleoenvironmental remains, and structures). Texas A&M archaeologists draw on a wide range of theoretical perspectives and methodological techniques to reconstruct and explain human technological, economic, and social behavior from the deep Paleolithic past to historic times.
Participating faculty include Drs. Vaughn Bryant, David Carlson, Bruce Dickson, Suzanne Eckert, Ted Goebel, Kelly Graf, Alston Thoms, and Michael Waters. We are united in the use of an interdisciplinary, scientific approach in our anthropological research and share common interests in the following research themes:
Peopling of the Americas studies, with a focus on archaeological and paleoecological aspects of the problem, including the study of Paleoindian geochronology, technology, subsistence, and settlement, and reconstruction of paleoenvironments; Archaeology of hunter-gatherers, including environment and ecology, subsistence and diet, land-use intensification, and lithic technology and technological organization;
Archaeology of Pre-state and state societies, focusing on social and economic organization, subsistence and diet, lithic and ceramic technology and production organization, cognition, culture change, and warfare.
Our interdisciplinary, scientific approach to the study of past cultures has developed from a strong legacy of archaeological and paleoenvironmental research, and heritage resource management in Texas. Today our faculty direct field- and laboratory-based projects in many areas of the world – North America, Pacific Islands, Northeast Asia, and Europe.
Other faculty in the Department of Anthropology work regularly with faculty and students in the archaeology program. They include Dr. Sheela Athreya (paleoanthropology), Dr. Darryl de Ruiter (paleoanthropology and zooarchaeololgy), Dr. Lori Wright (bioarchaeology), Dr. Michael Alvard (behavioral ecology), and Drs. Donny Hamilton and Wayne Smith (historical archaeology and conservation). These professors teach relevant courses that merge with archaeological data, and they are frequently members or co-chairs of our graduate students’ committees. Other affiliated faculty include Dr. Fred Pearl (TAMU-Galveston) and Dr. Tom Lynch (Brazos Valley Natural History Museum).
Graduate student training is theoretically and methodologically based. All students must complete an advanced seminar in archaeological theory, and they are expected to become proficient in a range of archaeological field and laboratory techniques, including geoarchaeology, lithic analysis, ceramic analysis, bioarchaeological analysis, paleobotanical analysis, and zooarchaeological analysis. Each student must also become proficient in the archaeology of a culture area, and s/he must be able to design original research that is theoretically founded and methodologically sound. Graduate students are expected to gain multiple experiences in field archaeology; however, dissertation research need not be field-based.