The goal of the Geoarchaeology Program is to encourage connections between geological concepts and methods to aid in the interpretation of the archaeological record of past societies.
About the Major
Geoarchaeology is the study of techniques and methods used to understand geological processes applied to the archaeological record and how humans engage, utilize, and move through landscapes during the past. Students combine a sequence of courses in archaeology and geosciences for broad study of theory, method, and analysis in both disciplines. Topics of focus include geochemistry, stratigraphic succession, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, and landscape evolution. Opportunities for research include fieldwork in eastern Africa, Romania, the Pacific Northwest, eastern North America, and Central New York.
Students Will Learn To:
- Engage with disciplinary fundamentals from anthropological archaeology
- Engage with disciplinary fundamentals from geosciences
- Combine practice and methodology through research design
- Apply disciplinary perspective(s) in an original research project
A Sampling of Courses
Analytic Methods in Archaeology
A survey of analytic techniques central to archaeological and paleoecological interpretation. Laboratory performance of artifact analysis and classification, computer-aided data management and statistical analysis. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory.
Explore these select courses:
This course focused on how the fundamentals of sedimentology and stratigraphy can be used to reconstruct past environments and study how they change through time. This will include a study of the classification of siliciclastic and carbonate rocks, how the energy of systems controls the type of rocks deposited, and the paleoclimatic/tectonic significance of depositional sequences. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory with field trips.
A field study of the geology of southern and central Arizona. Emphasis will be placed on examining evidence of large-scale geologic processes and how humans interact with, are influenced by, and modify the natural environment. A 10-day, intensive field course emphasizing experiential learning. Course will involve moderate hiking in remote areas. January 2020; extra cost; one-half credit. Prerequisite; any 100-level Geoscience course and permission of instructors.
Meet Our Faculty
Chair and Associate Professor of Geosciences
sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleolimnology, paleoenvironmental reconstruction
Professor of Anthropology, Associate Dean of Faculty
complex hunter-gatherers in the interior Pacific Northwest; the forager/farmer transition in Southwest Asia; rural coastal adaptations in western Ireland
Winslow Chair of Modern Science and Professor of Geosciences
geochemistry and petrogenesis of Miocene volcanic rocks in the Powder River Volcanic Field; history of igneous and tectonic activity in the northeastern United States; the mineralogy of New York State
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
origins of inequality; increasing social complexity; mortuary archaeology; landscape archaeology; material culture signaling; public archaeology; mining communities; Europe, Near East, North America
Explore Hamilton Stories
XRF Lab Puts Hamilton on the Map
Over the past seven years, the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) lab has put Hamilton on the map in the world of geochemical analysis. The lab uses x-rays, a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, to determine the chemical composition of rocks, minerals, and soils.
Nathan Goodale Promoted to Professor
An interdisciplinary practitioner of scientific anthropological archaeology, Goodale also teaches within the Geoarchaeology Program and currently directs the Digital Arts Program.
Beck Awarded NSF Grant: How Extreme Weather Affected Early Humans
Using fossil evidence and modern water isotope measurements, the researchers’ goal is to understand the impact of extreme weather on early humans and the ecosystems on which they depended.
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in geoarchaeology are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
- Senior Principal Scientist, Hazen and Sawyer, P.C.
- Ph.D. Student, University of Cambridge
- Acting Executive Director, The Quivira Coalition
Cat Beck, Program Co-Director
Clinton, NY 13323