What is Anthropology? What is Archaeology?
Humans are complex and diverse species, and anthropology gives us the tools to better understand who we are, how we used to be, and to shape what we might become.
To do so, the field brings together scholars from multiple subdisciplines. Archaeologists study past people using the material they leave behind. Biological anthropologists show us where biology and culture intersect. Cultural anthropologists explore the customs of people near and far, and linguistic anthropologists consider how and why we use language as we do. Applied anthropologists use knowledge created across the subdisciplines to help solve real-world problems in the present.
At Potsdam, students can explore all of these areas by majoring in Anthropology. Students who wish to specialize in archaeology can declare an Archaeological Studies major, which brings together courses from multiple disciplines.
Testing the Meadowood projectile point
As one of 21 students working on independent research projects through the Presidential Scholars Program this year, Alexis Michael ’18 took aim at an experiment that could change archaeologists’ theories about when Indigenous populations first used the bow and arrow.
Field School on John Brown’s Farm
Sitting in a hole, surrounded on all sides by layers of exposed soil in a 2-meter-long excavation unit, SUNY Potsdam junior Michael Madeiros ’19 uses a trowel to dig for artifacts on abolitionist John Brown’s farm.
Professor Timothy Messner
SUNY Potsdam professor Timothy Messner forges a piece of metal while leading a field trip to Farmhouse Forge in Potsdam as part of his experimental archaeology class.
In March 2017 a group of 20 Anthropology Club members traveled to Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts to attend the Northeastern Anthropological Association meetings.
“I’m really glad for the opportunity to do independent research while still an undergraduate. Not all colleges have these kinds of opportunities."Archaeology major