Students of archaeology and anthropology at Hampshire College engage in a study of the dimensions of humanity.
Through courses in physical and cultural anthropology, students learn anthropological models and methodology, which provide the groundwork for the pursuit of informed, integrative independent research.
Sex, Death, and Teeth: Life Stories Recorded in Teeth
In this project-focused course we will research how teeth provide insights into health, nutrition, diet, and origins. Teeth develop in utero and during early life, and then are nearly inert. Because teeth grow somewhat like trees (teeth also have growth rings), one can use teeth as windows onto past lifetimes and geological times. We will learn how to read the record of nutrition and health from tooth size, shape, and chemistry. Examples of hands-on projects include gender differences in prenatal nutrition among the Maya, lead pollution in contemporary Egypt and Mexico, and the geographic origin of enslaved Africans. This course is particularly recommended for students with interests in anthropology, archaeology, public health, and nutrition.
The study of anthropology is greatly enriched by the presence of a large and varied range of scholars across Five College consortium who meet regularly, share their research, and lecture in each other's classes.
As part of a wider collaborative effort to expand the opportunities for undergraduate study and field work in medical anthropology and related areas, the anthropologists helped to develop a Five College Certificate Program in Culture, Health, and Science.
A major collaboration is a day-long Five College symposium each year in which undergraduates present their research to the faculty and to their peers at all the campuses.
Through the University of Massachusetts Amherst's department of anthropology, Five College students are able to participate in local archaeological digs each summer or enroll in the field program in European studies. The field studies training program works on the principle of small group collaborative learning. Participants move through a three-semester course sequence as a group, sharing their ideas and experiences with each other. In this way, participants learn from each other and the faculty instructor who guides them through the process from beginning to end.
Participants are free to choose the research site and topic that most suits their interests. Students develop these ideas into full-fledged research projects—taking the project through the various stages of design, data collection, analysis, and report/publication. The idea is to experience the challenge of individual field research with the advantage of close guidance and support.
Dependent upon individual academic focus, concentrators at Hampshire in anthropology or archaeology may also qualify for the Five College Certificate Programs in Culture, Health, and Science, Native American Studies, African Studies, or Latin American Studies.