Academics Blog

Archive for the Category Archaeology *



Name: Meagan Young

Year: 2012

Hometown: Dallastown, PA

Majors: Civil Engineering, Archaeology

Minor: Classics

 Think Dirty

The Archaeology Major

Offered for the first time in August 2009, the archaeology major at Hopkins is an incredibly flexible interdisciplinary program. Considering the variety branches of study within archaeology itself, the program attracts students from a number of academic backgrounds.

The requirements for the major currently include four core classes, three related to a student’s selected concentration, six other courses determined to be pertinent to archaeological study, and significant fieldwork experience. More information can be found on the program’s website: http://krieger.jhu.edu/archaeology

The Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum (http://archaeologicalmuseum.jhu.edu/) is a wonderful new addition to Gilman Hall. At times, it may have open student positions for undergraduates to get hands on experience with preservation work.

The new Archaeology and Ancient Civilizations Club (AACC) just recently started and has hosted several socials with students, faculty and staff in the Near Eastern Studies, Classics, History of Art and Archaeology programs, a photo scavenger hunt at the Walters Art Museum, and co-hosts Friday Night Films once a semester with the HOP.

Below is a bit more information on current students’ personal and academic backgrounds in archaeology.

Classical Archaeology

Archaeology was actually a second major that I added to my course of study when it was first officially offered in the fall semester of my sophomore year at Hopkins. I have always loved studying Classics (ancient Greece and Rome), so I pursued a Classical concentration – and minor – within my archaeology major.

One of my favorite classes was “The Archaeology of Early Greece” with Dr. Emily Anderson. It gave a thorough background to art and archaeology in pre-Classical Greece. The material was really interesting and Dr. Anderson’s enthusiasm really came through in her lectures. Another one of my all-time favorite classes was “Archaeology of Daily Life” with Dr. Valladares. It was a once a week lecture in a classroom in the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. About halfway through the class, each of the students selected three objects from two of the display cases in the museum to research. The end result was a published catalog online of the objects, which you can check out here: http://archaeologicalmuseum.jhu.edu/the-collection/object-stories/archaeology-of-daily-life/  If you get a chance to visit the Homewood Campus, be sure to stop by the museum in Gilman Hall!

I completed my fieldwork requirement this summer in Greece! I was accepted into UC Berkeley’s field school program in Nemea, one of the four ancient Panhellenic sites. We spent six weeks getting hands-on experience at a high-profile excavation!  We stayed in the nearby village of Mikines (at the bottom of the hill from the famous Mycenaean citadel), worked from 6:30am to 2:30pm, and spent our afternoons exploring nearby villages and towns. Our weekends were spent exploring the more famous sites around Greece, including Olympia, Delphi, Epidaurus (see pic below), Corinth, and Athens. And that is totally a picture of me hugging a Doric column at Nemea. I hope I can go back soon!


(Composed by Meagan Young, Class of 2012, of Dallastown, PA majoring in Civil Engineering and Archaeology, and minoring in Classics.)

Experimental Archaeology

Experimental Archaeology seeks to create a deeper understanding of the method and process behind the creation of tools and materials found the in the archaeological record. Understanding ancient tools and materials in a tactile and functional way gives many insights into the culture, behavior and mindset of the ancients. The unchanging nature of flint and stone is makes it highly accessible to the modern day experimental archaeologist.  When you strike a flint core with a hammer stone, it will flake in the exact same way that it would have flaked for a Paleolithic

hunter repairing his spear point on the hunt for woolly mammoths in prehistoric Europe.

I’m planning to work with the archaeology club to teach other students some of the methods used by experimental archaeologists, including flintknapping, making rope from local plant fiber, carving atlatl (a device for throwing spears), and making bamboo bird snares from an authentic technique that was handed down to me by my Filipino grandpa, who used them to hunt in the jungle during WWII!

Students are hoping to work with the faculty to incorporate more “hands-on” courses into the archaeology major here at Hopkins, which will allow us to learn methods like those in experimental archaeology as well as excavation techniques used in the field.

(Composed by Wolfgang Alders, Class of 2014, of Oakland, CA, majoring in Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology, and minoring in Anthropology and Classics.)


I chose a major in archaeology because I have always been intensely drawn towards the mystery of the ancient world, specifically towards Mayan and other pre-Colombian civilizations, and the archaeology major provided a means towards building a background and potential career in doing research and science within those fields.

My favorite classes throughout my three completed years at JHU thus far have been in geology and mineralogy. I have never had experience with these subjects in high school and they were completely new to me. I believe that archaeology benefits most from drawing upon knowledge from other related fields like geology, and without a doubt my favorite classes at Hopkins thus far have been in the Earth and planetary sciences department, specifically Earth Materials.

I have had the great opportunity to be able to spend this past summer in Oregon investigating a clovis-age site in central Oregon. I would go back to the Great Basin in a heart-beat and I highly recommend the Great Basin Prehistory Project (now in its fifth and final year) to any newcomers to the archaeology major (http://pages.uoregon.edu/ftrock/course_description.php).

I plan to go to graduate school within the Western United States for geoarchaeology and to investigate the earliest occupation of the Americas during when the land-bridge between Asia and the North American continent opened up after the end of the last ice-age.

(Composed by Miles Wimbrow, Class of 2012, of Baltimore, MD, majoring in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Archaeology.)

Maritime Archaeology

I chose archaeology as a major after taking Intro to Archaeology and learning about the field. It allowed flexibility in my schedule, and I could study abroad while still completing my pre-med requirements on time. My favorite classes are Ancient Egyptian Civilizations with Dr. Bryan and Roman Art and Architecture with Dr. Tucci.

I completed my fieldwork on the beautiful island of Menorca, Spain doing an underwater archaeological excavation. It was a fascinating way to explore the field of maritime archaeology. Each day we would get in 2-3 dives allowing us to survey the Port of Sanitja and record our findings including amphorae, anchors, and shipwrecks. In addition, while studying abroad in Rome, Italy, I worked at the excavation at the Mausoleum of Augustus washing and cataloging pottery. Both experiences were unforgettable.

Although my next step in my educational career is medical school, I plan to continue to explore my passion for archaeology in any way that I can. I would like to go back to Menorca for at least one more season of excavations.

(Composed by Lindsey Kent, Class of 2012, of Mequon, WI, majoring in Archaeology (on the Pre-Med track.)

Mesoamerican Archaeology

Since I was in about sixth grade, I’ve been interested in Archaeology and Ancient History.  I knew I wanted to go to a University that had a good archaeology program.  At the time I was interested in Egypt so this was a great place.  Now, I want to do Mesoamerican archaeology and I still find the major very satisfying.  My favorite class by far has been Art of the Ancient Americas.  It’s a course about ancient art taught by Dr. DeLeonardis – mostly focused on the Mesoamerican region.  It is a great class, even for archaeology majors, because Dr. DeLeonardis ties in a lot of the history and archaeology of the region in her lectures.

I participated in a field school with Archaeology in Annapolis – a program set on analyzing the effects that African Americans had on the city of Annapolis and, in turn, the effect that the city had on them.  The experience was amazing! Not only did I learn the basic techniques of archaeological excavations but also learned a lot of theory hands on – like landscape archaeology which I now hope to pursue in the future.

Hopefully, when I graduate I can work in Mexico, in the Maya region.  There are two things I really want to focus on.  One goal of mine is to do landscape archaeology in some of the major cities in the area because Maya and other cultures in ancient Mexico purposefully built their sites to interact with the nature around them.  Another interesting aspect of Mesoamerican archaeology is, of course, hieroglyphic studies. I hope to study them in grad school and get to work with them in person during my career.

(Composed by Aley Villarreal, Class of 2014, of Huntingtown, MD, majoring in Archaeology, and minoring in Latin American Studies.)

Near Eastern Archaeology

I chose my major because it’s what I wanted to do since I was a little kid. Even after I figured out archaeology is not as glamorous as pop culture makes it out to be, I still loved it. I hope to focus my studies more specifically on Egyptology, especially since I have learned about Egypt on my own and through school since about second grade.

My favorite class so far is one I’m currently taking: Ancient Egyptian Civilization taught by Dr. Betsy Bryan. Dr. Bryan is a leading figure in the field of Egyptology. Some students are even able to join her in Egypt during an intersession course.

While I haven’t done my major field work requirement during my time at Hopkins so far, I did spend two weeks in Belize on a dig the summer after my junior year of high school. It was amazing! It really solidified my interest in archaeology and made me really want to go into it as a career.

I am currently planning to pursue a doctorate degree but am not sure if I want to focus on excavation or artifact research, although the current political climate of Egypt could play a role in that decision.



(Composed by Allie Burek, Class of 2014, of Allentown, NJ, majoring in Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies, with a minor in Anthropology.)



Click here to access more information about the Archaeology Undergraduate Program of Study.

To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective as well as the Archaeology question thread.



Name: Veronica Jordan-Davis

Year: Class of 2012

Hometown: Plainsboro, NJ

Major: Archaeology & Near Eastern Studies


My name is Veronica Jordan-Davis and I’m a freshman from New Jersey. I’m majoring in Near Eastern studies and archaeology at Hopkins. Once people know I am going to JHU, one of the first things I get asked is; “Are you pre-med?” I answer by telling them all of the wonderful things about my non-medical related double-major here at Hopkins.

Image003 Dr. Betsy Bryan, a professor who teaches courses for both programs, hosts an annual dig at the Temple of Mut in Luxor, Egypt! During my first semester here, I took a great class taught by her called Akhenaten, Nefertiti &Ramses II the Amarna Period. We focused on the change from traditional Egyptian art that occurred during this time period. You can see for yourself some of the dissimilarities.  (The photos are of: left — Akhenaten, the new art style of Amarna; right — Ramses II.)


Next January, I will have a chance to go on her dig myself. I was so excited when I found out from Dr. Bryan that I could accompany her. What a fantastic opportunity—a dig in Egypt in just my sophomore year of college! You can check out the daily blog of the excavation from this past January.

Another class I have taken that satisfies requirements for both of my majors is Middle Egyptian Hieroglyphs. It may surprise you that hieroglyphs have their own grammar—their own tenses, pronouns, particles. The ancient Egyptians even wrote using rhymes and soundplay.

This is the first year Johns Hopkins has had archaeology as an individual major, which is awesome for me, because I am concentrating on Egyptology (basically, the archaeology of ancient Egypt). By taking archaeology and Near Eastern studies, I can study both the history of ancient Egypt and the technical methods of excavation. Hopkins’ Near Eastern Studies Department was the first program to offer a Ph.D. in the country, and we also have an Image004archaeological collection, which demonstrates Hopkins’ commitment to the study of the ancient world.

I’ve always been fascinated by ancient cultures, specifically ancient Egypt. After traveling in Egypt last summer, I have decided that it’s definitely something that I want to pursue as a career. With my undergraduate double-major here at the Hop I will be well-positioned to accomplish this goal! (One more picture. This is me inside the tomb of Senwosret II in Abydos, Egypt!)


Click here to access more information about the Archaeology Undergraduate Program of Study.

To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective as well as the Archaeology question thread.