Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Study Archaeology at Otago

Bringing the past into the present.

There are two broad areas of Anthropology studied at Otago: Archaeology and Social Anthropology. These are two separate programmes, but have key shared papers at undergraduate level.

Study Social Anthropology at Otago

Archaeology seeks to understand earlier human societies and cultures through the study of material evidence from the past. This evidence can include assemblages of portable artefacts such as stone tools, larger monumental structures like Mayan temples, and entire human-modified landscapes. Archaeologists generate data through fieldwork and excavation, and use both laboratory science and interpretive theory to study that data. Archaeology is essentially a humanities discipline, since it studies human societies and their history – but it draws on a range of other fields, particularly from the sciences.

Archaeology is our primary source of knowledge about the deep history of humankind, and the gradual developments in culture and society that led to the present-day arrangement of human communities. Otago offers a range of stimulating Archaeology papers, including opportunities for postgraduate students to carry out supervised field and laboratory research, particularly in New Zealand and the Pacific.

Archaeology at Otago

Archaeology at Otago is taught as part of the broader discipline of Anthropology; the comparative study of humanity and culture. Otago offers a range of stimulating Archaeology papers with opportunities for postgraduate students to carry out supervised field and laboratory research, particularly in New Zealand and the Pacific.

Students who wish to specialise in Archaeology major in Anthropology.

There is also an Anthropology minor option requiring a minimum five papers.

Why study Archaeology?

The study of Archaeology will broaden your understanding of the development of human society and culture. At Otago you will learn about the methods and findings that have led archaeologists to understand how and why complex societies emerged throughout the world.

Otago courses provide a unique 50,000 year perspective on early human colonisation and cultural change in Asia and the Pacific. Students gain novel insights into human social and material environments and interactions in the past.

Students can also prepare for a career that promotes new and exciting research into our human heritage, and the care of archaeological sites today. Graduating Archaeology students will have critical skills in the systematic recording, analysis and interpretation of the cultural past.

Archaeology is taught as part of the Arts degree at the University of Otago so our students receive excellent instruction in research, and are skilled in the construction and presentation of well-reasoned and articulated arguments – in both written and oral form. These are the fundamental skills necessary for a wide range of careers and our graduates are currently employed in many different professions. Those with a graduate degree in Archaeology often elect to take up positions in archaeological research, heritage management, museum studies or in related fields.

Career opportunities

In most modern countries some and occasionally all archaeological sites are protected under law from modification. Government agencies responsible for archaeological site protection may employ archaeologists to help manage sites, or to respond to applications to modify sites for development or research purposes.

In New Zealand some archaeologists are employed by Heritage New Zealand, the national agency responsible for site protection. Such archaeologists may process applications to modify sites and otherwise work to promote the identification, understanding and protection of archaeological places and areas.

The Department of Conservation also employs archaeologists.

Local authorities are increasingly assuming greater responsibilities for archaeological heritage in New Zealand and overseas, and may offer archaeological employment. Public museums may also employ archaeologists as curators, or for specific conservation purposes and research.

Many archaeologists work in a private consulting capacity, offering services and advice to local and national government and other public institutions. They may also be contracted to carry out investigations required during development work, or to advise on the management and care of particular sites and artefacts.

Archaeological skills and knowledge contribute usefully to other professions such as planning, surveying, museum management, history and tourism.

Background required

There are no formal secondary school prerequisites for enrolment in an Anthropology degree.

Teaching style

Our staff are committed to providing high quality teaching through lectures and tutorial interactions, field instruction and laboratory supervision and training. They are all active researchers who incorporate their research programmes and findings into their teaching.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Go to the Anthropology page for programme requirements.

Papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
ANTH103 2020 Introduction to Anthropology 18 points First Semester
ANTH105 2020 Global and Local Cultures 18 points Second Semester
ANTH106 2020 Human Origins and Civilisations 18 points Second Semester
ANTH203 2020 Asian Archaeology 18 points Second Semester
ANTH204 2020 Pacific and New Zealand Archaeology 18 points First Semester
ANTH205 2020 Anthropology and the Contemporary Pacific 18 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH206 2020 Anthropology of Globalisation 18 points Second Semester
ANTH208 2020 Archaeological Methods 18 points First Semester
ANTH209 2020 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH210 2020 Translating Culture 18 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH211 2020 Contemporary Ethnographic Research 18 points First Semester
ANTH216 2020 Archaeology of the Modern World 18 points Second Semester
ANTH222 2020 Conceiving Reproduction 18 points Second Semester
ANTH223 2020 Anthropology of Health 18 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH225 2020 Rites of Passage: Death, Grief and Ritual 18 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH228 2020 Anthropology of Religion and the Supernatural 18 points Second Semester
ANTH310 2020 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH312 2020 Cultural Politics 18 points First Semester
ANTH316 2020 Labour and Society 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023
ANTH321 2020 Archaeozoology 18 points First Semester
ANTH322 2020 Conceiving Reproduction 18 points Second Semester
ANTH323 2020 Anthropology of Health 18 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH324 2020 Archaeological Practice 18 points Second Semester
ANTH325 2020 Rites of Passage: Death, Grief and Ritual 18 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH326 2020 Special Topic: Sex and Culture 18 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH327 2020 Anthropology of Money 18 points First Semester
ANTH328 2020 Anthropology of Religion and the Supernatural 18 points Second Semester
ANTH329 2020 Landscape Archaeology 18 points Second Semester
ANTH330 2020 New Zealand Archaeology 18 points First Semester
ANTH331 2020 The Emergence of Agriculture: an Archaeological Journey 18 points Second Semester
ANTH405 2020 Archaeological Excavation 20 points 1st Non standard period
ANTH409 2020 Material Culture Studies 20 points Full Year
ANTH410 2020 Special Topic: Archaeological Science 20 points First Semester
ANTH411 2020 Special Topic: The New Ethnography of Development 20 points Full Year
ANTH413 2020 Oceanic Prehistory 20 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH423 2020 Bodies, Technologies and Medicines 20 points Not offered in 2020
ANTH424 2020 The Anthropology of Evil 20 points Full Year
ANTH425 2020 Anthropology of Transnationalism and Diaspora 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
ANTH490 2020 Dissertation 60 points Full Year
ANTH495 2020 Dissertation 60 points Full Year
ANTH590 2020 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

Key information for future students

Contact us

Archaeology Programme
School of Social Sciences
Email anthropology@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/archaeology