Archaeology is the study of past human cultures. Through the analysis of material remains recovered from archaeological sites, archaeologists are able to reconstruct past lifeways, behaviors, and adaptations, often through an interdisciplinary approach. Archaeology develops and encourages scientific research, public stewardship and education to learn more about humanity's past. Laboratory space, equipment and supplies and extensive archaeological and comparative collections combine to support this research. Located in historic Spooner Hall on the main campus, the archaeology laboratory offers research space and support to Anthropology faculty and graduate students, Archaeology staff, Museum Studies interns, affiliate curators and research associates and visiting scholars.
The mission of Archaeology is to develop, disseminate, and preserve knowledge of past cultures, primarily those cultures represented by our collections. Our collection strengths represent all time periods of the central North American Great Plains, ceramic periods of Central and South America, and select areas of Paleolithic Europe.
In addition to supporting the core values of The University of Kansas, Archaeology is guided in its mission by the Society for American Archaeology’s Principles of Archeological Ethics. These principles are embodied in seven commitments: stewardship, outreach, publication, preservation, training, accountability, and professionalism. Archaeology promotes a dynamic intellectual environment, energetic student engagement, and advanced research. We actively contribute to the University’s mission and goals.
Archaeology aspires to be a nationally recognized center for research, emphasizing interdisciplinary excellence and a regionally acclaimed curation facility promoting best care standards.
Strengths of Archaeology:
-Reputation for high quality research and teaching in the Department of Anthropology and related disciplines
-Extensive systematic collections, accessible for research and teaching
-Excellent working relationship and support with KU faculty from various departments
-Comprehensive comparative collections of Plains lithic, faunal, and floral resources
Archaeology has established several goals that reflect the mission statement and provide direction for a course of action in adhering to the mission. These goals are:
-To advance research and scholarly enterprise related to worldwide and North American Plains archaeology, and to promote graduate and undergraduate student participation and research.
-To strengthen and expand partnerships with public or private constituencies to advance understanding and appreciation about the human past and stewardship of archaeological resources.
-To recognize and illuminate the human diversity inherent in prehistory and history as manifested in the archaeological record and to use that record for greater inclusion and participation of professionals and the public.
-To strengthen Archaeology's intellectual and cultural vitality within the University of Kansas and throughout.