Summer 2023 - ARCH 101 OL01

Reconstructing the Human Past (3)

Class Number: 4134

Delivery Method: Online


  • Course Times + Location:




A survey of methods used by archaeologists to discover and interpret the past. Examples will be drawn from selected sites and cultures around the world. Students who have taken ARCH 201 may not enroll in ARCH 101. Breadth-Social Sciences.


An introduction to archaeological method and theory.  The course consists of a survey of the principles, concepts, techniques and interpretive approaches used by archaeologists to study human cultures of the past.  Topics include finding and excavating archaeological sites, archaeological dating techniques, recognizing and analyzing artifacts, interpreting animal and plant remains, reconstructing social systems and trade, interpreting ancient art and ritual, interpreting monumental architecture, analyzing modern material culture and the meanings conveyed through clothing and items of personal adornment, analyzing human burials, examining the role of archaeology as a profession and examining the regulations used to protect archaeological resources. 

This is a fully asynchronic course.  Multiple-choice quizzes are written using Canvas and are available at any time following the completion of the required modules.  There are no midterm or final exams.  Written assignments include short discussion responses, a short (2 to 3 page, double spaced) assignment, and a longer (4 to 6 page, double spaced) interpretive assignment.  The interpretive assignment, near the end of the course, requires students to explain real archaeological data using the approaches covered in class.


  • Discussions (5 @ 2% each) 10%
  • Vocabulary Quizzes (5 @ 8% each) 40%
  • Short Assignment 20%
  • Interpretive Assignment 30%



Archaeology Essentials: Theories, Methods and Practice.  4th Edition. Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn.  Thames & Hudson, London.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

Deferred grades will be given only on the basis of authenticated medical disability.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.