Save the collective history of humankind, recover the voices and stories of underrepresented populations, and preserve the narratives of global civilization with a degree in archaeology. Get your hands dirty by participating in important archaeological excavations in the Commonwealth of Virginia and around the world. Connect your finds with information about past environments to discover the history, customs, and living habits of people across time. An interdisciplinary major, the study of archaeology prepares you for a variety of careers in field archaeology, museum studies, archaeological law, teaching and research, historical tourism, non-profit organizations and work safeguarding the rights of indigenous populations.

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In and Beyond the Classroom

Archaeological dig site

global education

Since the mid-1980s, Randolph-Macon students have participated in ongoing archaeological excavations around the world. Scholars work alongside renowned archaeology professors and researchers from across the globe to excavate and analyze human remains and artifacts such as tools, pottery, cave paintings, and ruins of buildings.

hands-on learning

The study of archaeology is necessarily both theoretical and practical. At RMC, students take part in rigorous, interdisciplinary classroom learning and directly apply new knowledge through hands-on research and field work experience. Many credit their time excavating alongside faculty and students as pivotal to their futures. They work at relevant sites around the world and contributing to archaeological discoveries in Hanover County including Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown, Hanover Courthouse, Hanover Tavern, and Signal Hill Plantation.

advising and mentorship

Archaeology is teamwork. At RMC, this means lots of interaction with fellow students and lots of one-on-one support from caring faculty in the Department of Classical Studies who work closely with you while conducting field work and supporting you with original research opportunities that give you the competitive edge for future graduate school study and careers. 

  • 8,000
    new archaeology positions are needed in the next decade
  • 550BC
    the year King Nabonidus of Ancient Mesopotamia led the world’s first archaeological excavations
  • The 1
    and ONLY bachelor’s degree in Archaeological Studies in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Archaeology student excavates at outdoor dig site

in full
Courses You Won’t Want to Miss

(A very small sample)

Arth 210

Origins of civilization

How do we define civilization? Why is civilization important to humans? What is the role of the arts in defining a civilization? Study the development of early cultures and “civilizations” and compare the definitions of civilization and the processes by which a civilization develops and wanes. 

ARCH 320

Archaeology, Art, and Cultural Heritage Ethics and Laws

Who owns the past? Who should profit from archaeological discoveries? Who should interpret the past of a culture or group of people? Learn the current international and U.S. laws that govern historic preservation, cultural resource management, archaeology, and commerce in antiquities. 

ARCH 221

Archaeological Methods and Theory

Learn the theory and methods of archaeology including the responsibilities of the archaeologist, stewardship of cultural remains, and research design. Practice specific tasks in a laboratory and field setting including site identification, survey, excavation, and artifact conservation. Study applied sciences such as archaeological chemistry, bioarchaeology, geoarchaeology, and analyze artifacts for the purposes of determining dates and provenance. 

Buzzworthy The Latest From RMC Archaeology

News Story categories: Archaeology Alumni Classics

Dug Full Circle: Archaeology’s New Face at RMC is Also a Familiar One

Nadhira Hill ’16 knows the second floor of Fox Hall well. As an archaeology and classical studies double major, she took many courses in…

A smiling woman wearing glasses stands in front of a window.
News Story categories: Archaeology Classics

New Archaeology and Classics Professorship Created Through Support From Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)

The new professorship in archaeology and classics honors longtime Agora excavation director John Camp and RMC Classics Professor Elizabeth Fisher.…

John Camp oversees an archaeology dig site in Greece with Randolph-Macon students
News Story categories: Archaeology History

SURF Feature: Morgan Lindsay ’22 on the Decolonization of Virginia Museums

Like many of us, Morgan Lindsay ’22 turned to books for comfort and clarity during the pandemic. Little did she…

Morgan Lindsay poses for a picture in front of an exhibit at the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center.

Get Ready Discover Archaeology at RMC.