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Archaeological Studies

B.A. Archaeological Studies

Archaeology explores the lives of past peoples through the material culture they leave behind. Using knowledge gained in several disciplines, archaeologists across the globe ask a range of questions about the human experience, including how people settled a landscape, what they ate and how they ate it, what work they did and how they lived their religious beliefs, among many others. At Potsdam, Archaeological Studies students recognize the interdisciplinary and geographically diverse nature of archaeological research by taking classes from multiple departments and with a focus on various regions and time periods. Opportunities for hands-on research, such as through our annual field school, are plentiful.


Students will be able to:   

  • apply archaeological knowledge.
  • access archaeological data and information.
  • demonstrate fundamental archaeological knowledge.
  • create and disseminate archaeological knowledge.

Career Outlook

Employment of anthropologists and archaeologists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031.

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Dr. Tim Messner talks about the value of the HEARTH (Hand-crafted, Experiential, Archaeological Research and Teaching Hub), a brand-new applied learning center at SUNY Potsdam.

Jeimi Toribio '23, a double major in archaeological studies and anthropology, discusses how the archaeology program at SUNY Potsdam has allowed her to explore the past through hands-on field experiences—most recently during an archaeology field school in the Adirondacks where she unearthed historical artifacts from the 1800s.

“Most of the time you get a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and then go on to do archaeology later in grad school, but I wanted to start from the beginning with archaeology. Potsdam's program was the right fit for what I had wanted to do, which was to get a strong fundamental base in archaeology. It was also the most economical choice for me since most other schools which had a BA in archaeology were around $40,000 a year and that was 12 years ago.”

Dr. Jesse Millek Archaeology Major

Years of detective work by SUNY Potsdam archaeologist Dr. Hadley Kruczek-Aaron and her search for a forgotten African American settlement in the Adirondacks are highlighted in "Searching for Timbuctoo," a new film by Paul Miller. The examination of pre-Civil War social justice and roots of abolitionism in the North Country has been screened and discussed across central and northern New York.

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The Curious Cases of Nasser Malit

Dr. Nasser Malit has volunteered his time with the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Unit out of Ray Brook, N.Y., since 2011. In the role of a forensic anthropologist, he narrows and focuses the almost endless possibilities surrounding a skeleton or a shard of calcium. Malit’s early research prepared him for this work, taking him deep into the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, where in 2004, he excavated a 7,000-year-old human skeleton in partnership with the famed paleoanthropologists in the Leakey family. His forensic anthropology students now benefit from his vast knowledge while examining bones in his lab.

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Seeing the Future Through the Past

Marla Jacobs ’20 drew strength from her Mohawk heritage to overcome daunting challenges and finish an archaeology degree with three minors. Hard at work on a new display for The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, she continues to help build our knowledge of Indigenous peoples and their role in the ancient Adirondack landscapes.

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Archaeology Students Dig at Camp Union

From June 24 to July 19, SUNY Potsdam Professor Dr. Hadley Kruczek-Aaron led an archaeology field school for 12 of her students at Camp Union in Potsdam—a Civil War training ground once used by soldiers preparing for battle. Students spent four weeks unearthing layers of dirt, digging excavation units, using sifter screens and bagging artifacts. The Meadow East Apartment Complex property in Potsdam became the students’ outdoor classroom for a month as they searched for historic remnants from the Camp Union occupation.

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