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Why I Teach Archaeology

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Tools used in an excavation in a bucket. Credit:  Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service


I love multidisciplinarity. My brain works in a ‘multidisciplinary’ way, and I find it useful to be able to tap into different knowledge bases in order to think about topics like disease and health, or the environment, in new ways. This pretty much describes archaeology. The subject is inherently attuned to pulling in a range of perspectives from different disciplines, and using these to enrich how we study the past.

In the same way, teaching archaeology also draws on a diversity of viewpoints. I teach osteology, using iPads that have digitized versions of different bones; I also teach human animal relations, but approached from art, literature as well as hard science. The taught component is complemented by trips to the Cantor and Green Library, as well as a range of films. In combination, this approach captures the different relationships humans have had with animals through time. Archaeology has a huge amount of breadth, and is incredibly welcoming of different disciplines; I’d encourage students in any major to take a few archaeology courses and see how multidisciplinarity ‘works’.

Krish Seetah

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

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