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Queen's University

*Please note that course syllabi are updated each year in late August 
Prior to August, syllabi on the Classics Department website will reflect the courses as they were offered in the last term or year.  Significant changes in emphasis in course material may occur from year to year, including grading methodology, grade weighting and assignments.   Up-to-date syllabi will be available to students by the first day of class.

CLST 129 
Introduction to Archaeology

Teaching Assistants

Office: 504 Watson Hall

Irina Malakhova -   13idm

Emily Rickets -



Dr. B. Reeves  
Office:  512 Watson Hall
Phone:  613-533-6000 x74824


Dr. F. Colivicchi
Office: 502 Watson Hall
Phone: 613-533-6000 x74821

Log in to Moodle


This course presents the history and development of archaeology as an academic discipline, the methods of obtaining evidence by excavation, the evaluation of such evidence, and the reconstruction of ancient environments. The contribution of archaeology to our knowledge of human history will also be discussed.


N.B. This course may be taken for a full credit towards a concentration in History. It may also be taken as a "linkage" course for Applied Science students.

The Practical Part of CLST 129 Classwork

Ten weeks of this course will be concerned with the practical aspects of archaeology and theorems derived from practice. How do we find a site and make certain that it will produce? How do we arrange for an excavation and organize it? In the trench, how do we proceed and make sense of the process? And how do we communicate our understanding to others? In different words, we will deal with surveys, subsurface detection, land acquisition, legal problems, work permits, money, staffing. Maps and grids, soils and stratigraphy. Mobile and immobile finds. Recording, conservation, and interpretation.

Attending class to see the illustrations and keeping notes seems the best and easiest way to learn.


Each term is worth 50%of the course grade.  

Fall Term (50%):

  • Assignment: Kingston's Past in the Present (5%) - due October 2, 2013
  • In-Class Image Exam 1 (15%) - Wednesday, October 16, 2013
  • In Class Image Exam 2 (15%) - Friday, November 22, 2013
  • December exam (15 %) - scheduled during December exam period

Examination Policy:

Examinations should be taken at the scheduled time and date. In certain exceptional circumstances, the instructor might grant the student the opportunity to write an exam outside of the regularly scheduled time. All such arrangements must be agreed upon by the instructor before the time of the regularly scheduled exam and will require the appropriate documentation. The format of any such special exams will be determined by the instructor and may differ considerably from that of the exam written by the rest of the class. (Note in particular that no deferrals will be given to students who are out of town during the December or April exams, so do not book travel until you know your exam times.)

Deadline Policy for Assignment:

The assignment is due in class on the date specified. Any assignment submitted later in that day will be considered to have been submitted on the following day. Late assignments will be docked one letter grade per day for every individual day late (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). To avoid late penalties, students are encouraged to organize their time efficiently.

Winter Term (50%):

In-Class exam 1 (10%) on material covered in weeks 1-3 (January 24, 2014)
In-Class exam 2  (10%) on material covered in weeks 4-6 (February 14, 2014)
In-Class exam 3   (10 %) on material covered in weeks 7-9 (March 14, 2014)
Final Examination  (20%) CUMULATIVE – on material covered in weeks 1-12 (scheduled during April exam period)

Exams will consist of multiple choice questions, short answers/fill in the blanks, and archaeological exercises

Examination Policy
No make-ups are allowed. However, if for any reason you miss one of the in-class exams, the other two will be worth 15 % each.

You are reminded not to make travel arrangements until the exam schedule is out. The exam cannot be written on a different day to accommodate individual wishes.

    Grading Methodology

    All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks.  The final grade you receive for the course will be derived by converting your numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale:

                                              Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale


    Numerical Course Average (Range)


























    49 and below 


    Fall Term:

    • No text for the fall term

    Winter Term:

    • C. Renfrew and P. Bahn, Archaeology essentials. Theory, methods and practice , Thames and Hudson 2007 and following editions.


    Topics Schedule - Fall Term

    N.B. Details of this overview may vary. Any changes will be announced in class.

    • Topic 1: Introduction to the course and to the history of archaeology
    • Topic 2: Introduction to Ancient Mediterranean Cultures 1: Neolithic Revolution, Mesopotamia and Egypt
    • Topic 3: Introduction to Ancient Mediterranean Cultures 2: Greek Bronze Age Civilizations
    • Topic 4: Introduction to Ancient Mediterranean Cultures 3: Classical & Hellenistic Greece
    • Topic 5: Introduction to Ancient Mediterranean Cultures 4: Rome, the Etruscans, and the Roman Empire
    • Topic 6: Ancient perspectives on the past
    • Topic 7: Forgetting the past
    • Topic 8:Evoking the past in the Middle Ages
    • Topic 9:New attitudes towards the past in the Renaissance
    • Topic 10: Civic building and private collecting
    • Topic 11: Western Europe’s territorial and cultural expansion
    • Topic 12: From private collectors to national museums
    • Topic 13 : 19th century revolutions in concepts of time
    • Topic 14:The beginnings of scientific excavation
    • Topic 15: Archaeological accomplishments of the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries
    • Topic 16: Concluding remarks

    Topics Schedule - Winter Term   

    N.B. schedule may vary.

    Week 1 (Jan 6-10). The history of archaeology; the nature and aims of archaeology (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 1)

    Week 2 (Jan 13-17). The variety of the evidence (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 2)

    Week 3 (Jan 20-24). Survey and excavation of sites and features (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 3)  In Class Test 1

    Week 4 (Jan 27-31). Dating methods and chronology (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 4) 

    Week 5 (Feb 3-7). Social archaeology (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 5)

    Week 6 (Feb 10-14). Environment, subsistence, and diet (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 6)  In Class Test 2

     Feb 17-21 Reading Week

    Week 7 (Feb 24-28). Technology, trade, and exchange (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 7)

    Week 8   (Mar 3-7). Cognitive archaeology and the archaeology of people (Renfrew and Bahn chapters 8-9)  

    Week 9 (Mar 10-14). Explanation in archaeology (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 10)  In Class Test 3

    Week 10 (Mar 17-21). Archaeology and the public (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 11)

    Week 11   (Mar 24-28). Managing our heritage (Renfrew and Bahn chapter 12)

    Week 12 (Mar 31-Apr 4). Field projects

      Final Exam

    Tips on Writing a Slide Test

    Dig Tips

    Electronic Devices in the Classroom

    The Department of Classics believes that maintaining an atmosphere of respect and consideration in the classroom is an important part of the pursuit of free intellectual enquiry. The use of electronic devices in the classroom can be disruptive to both the instructor and to other students, and thus we are introducing guidelines on their use. These guidelines will follow the procedure explained in Section 14 of the Student Code of Conduct and are in force starting January 2011:

    1. Non-course related use of electronic devices (e.g. playing games, watching movies, social networking and texting), including smartphones, tablets and laptops, is regarded by the Department of Classics as disruptive pursuant to Section 14 of the Student Code of Conduct. The use of these devices may be restricted at the discretion of the instructor;
    2. In some courses in CLST, LATN or GREK laptops may not be permitted. You will be told in class by your instructor if this is the case. If the use of laptops is permitted, please understand that their use is restricted to note-taking;
    3. The use of recording devices for lectures is not allowed unless you have requested and been given the express permission of the instructor of the course.

    Academic Integrity

    Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see These values are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University (see the Senate Report on Principles and Priorities

    Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations concerning academic integrity and for ensuring that their assignments conform to the principles of academic integrity. Information on academic integrity is available in the Arts and Science Calendar (see Academic Regulation 1, on the Arts and Science website (see, and from the instructor of this course. Departures from academic integrity include plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification, and are antithetical to the development of an academic community at Queen's. Given the seriousness of these matters, actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning or the loss of grades on an assignment to the failure of a course to a requirement to withdraw from the university.

    Download the  Statement on Academic Integrity for Inclusion in Course Syllabi and Assignments  [PDF]

    Disability Accommodations

    Queen's University is committed to achieving full accessibility for persons with disabilities. Part of this commitment includes arranging academic accommodations for students with disabilities to ensure they have an equitable opportunity to participate in all of their academic activities. If you are a student with a disability and think you may need accommodations, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Disability Services Office (DSO) and register as early as possible. For more information, including important deadlines, please visit the DSO website at:


    The material on this website is copyrighted and is for the sole use of students registered in CLST 129. The material on this website may be downloaded for a registered student’s personal use, but shall not be distributed or disseminated to anyone other than students registered in CLST 129.  Failure to abide by these conditions is a breach of copyright, and may also constitute a breach of academic integrity under the University Senate’s Academic Integrity Policy Statement.


    This page was last updated 03 January  2014.

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    Department of Classics, 505 Watson Hall
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6.
    P: 613.533.2745 | F: 613.533.6739