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Archaeology and Ancient Studies at Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA

This blog contains direct quotes from websites as of 2023. Programs and policies do change, at colleges, from time to time, so please check with the colleges directly to receive any updates. These are not, necessarily, the biggest, best, or most popular programs at the college, but they are the ones that just “caught my eye” as unique, special, interesting, or just plain awesome. Enjoy!


From the Sweet Briar website, 2023: “At Sweet Briar, we celebrate connectivity of thought, and we invite our students to do the same. The interdisciplinary program of archaeology and ancient studies offers students the opportunity to engage with past peoples through multiple lenses, combining visual, textual and material evidence to generate new perspectives.



“By inviting students with an interest in material studies to think together with those working on textual materials, we highlight the ways in which knowledge is generated, providing students with the tools to conduct independent research, both in the library and in the field.


“Our campus serves as a natural laboratory that lets us explore the lives of diverse populations and helps students construct a framework they can carry with them — to excavations in Italy or internships in law firms.


“What is distinctive about studying archaeology and ancient studies at Sweet Briar? It’s inherently interdisciplinary — perfect for students with wide-ranging interests and curiosity who want to explore the history of ancient societies and cultures. Coursework in both the archaeology and the ancient studies tracks integrates elements from various disciplines, including environmental science, engineering, philosophy, history, psychology and visual studies.


“Sweet Briar has one of the only stand-alone Archaeology majors in the country. Students are able to dig deep into both the academic side of archaeology and its practical applications. Our courses provide students with a broad knowledge of the history of the discipline, the major discoveries of multiple Mediterranean societies, and practical experience working with real artifacts and excavating both on campus and abroad.

Our faculty consist of professional archaeologists with research expertise in classical and historic archaeology in Italy, Greece, Albania, and Turkey and professional expertise in cultural heritage management and sustainable tourism. The program also works very closely with other programs, such as History and the Arts Management certificate, so that students can create pathways to post-graduate study and/or careers in public humanities, museums, and galleries.


“Resources and Opportunities: Students have field, laboratory and museum training, and opportunities both on and off campus. Our campus acts as a natural laboratory of historic materials, including a slave cemetery, plantation house, out-buildings, a slave cabin and 20th-century middens.

Students also have access to a large corpus of artifacts from a wide variety of cultures from antiquity. Students are able to work with these objects in specific courses as well as through supervised independent studies and internships. Additionally, archaeology students are required to complete a fieldwork experience, which can be as a participant in excavations conducted by the program head in Albania.


“Students have completed internships and field study in North America, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Japan, and Kazakhstan. Students also have frequent opportunities for study abroad in Sweet Briar travel courses.”


Sweet Briar College is one of the featured colleges in my new book (click image for additional information):



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