Opportunities for Archaeology Students

Archaeology is about recovering the human past and investigating how this past created the foundation for contemporary culture. Through archaeology we can understand how past peoples organized their lives, from customs and belief-systems, subsistence patterns, urban planning to the economic relationships that indigenous communities negotiated with colonial powers. Through artifacts and excavations, archaeologists explore questions that can speak to contemporary social problems.

Initial questions investigated by an archaeologist

Broader questions addressed by an archaeologist

  • How did ancient people’s interaction with the land shape past cultures?
  • What were the social and political dynamics of ancient cultures?
  • How did communities in the past respond to climate change?
  • Who is responsible for the preservation and management of our shared cultural heritage?

Is this object an artifact?


When was this artifact made?


Where was this artifact used?


How was this artifact used?

Careers in Archaeology

The graduate in archaeology has the skills and insights to build a career in governmental organizations, cultural resource management (CRM), historical preservation, law, public education, and museum curation. Many questions that we have about the future can be addressed by investigating archaeological evidence of the past.

Check out our suggestions for paths to success and careers in archaeology.

Archaeology at CSU

Our archaeology program provides a broad range of courses designed to provide foundational knowledge in the classroom and further engage students in experiential learning in our lab and field school courses.

CSU archaeology course subjects include: Rocky Mountain and plains archaeology; Andean archaeology; historic archaeology; Mesoamerican archaeology; Eastern woodlands archaeology; geoarchaeology; geophysical survey in archaeology; museum studies; public anthropology; taphonomy.

Our undergraduate program includes an archaeology concentration focused on the Americas from the perspective of multiple time scales.

Our Archaeology Field School course provides training and experience in field and lab research methods every summer.

The archaeology program reflects the overlapping and diverse research interests of our faculty

Opportunities for Student Engagement

Archaeology at CSU also offers students the opportunities to gain a wide variety of hands-on experience including field schools, internships, practicums, and the development of practical skills such as GIS, artifact curation, geoarchaeological analyses, aerial and terrestrial remote sensing methods, and report writing to name a few.

Archaeology students at CSU are encouraged to engage in research. Faculty-supervised student practicums, research projects and independent studies may concern lab management (museum curation, material processing), lab research (research design, methods, assessment, publication), and training in new technologies (drones, mapping, statistical analysis). These projects are made possible by faculty research facilities.

Our Archaeology Field School course provides experiential immersion in field and lab research methods every summer

The opportunity to engage in original research with faculty mentorship

CSU Archaeology Centers

The archaeology program at CSU provides students with opportunities to learn through experience and mentorship. As a result, our graduates have followed paths to successful careers in non-academic and academic fields.

“When I came to Colorado State University in the fall of 2011, I was chosen to work with the Center for Mountain and Plains Archaeology (CMPA) through the Honors Undergraduate Research Scholars program. Under the supervision of Dr. Jason LaBelle, I participated in high elevation archaeology projects on Rollins Pass and was a crewmember at Chimney Hollow Open Space, Roberts Ranch, and Fossil Creek Wetlands Area. When I was not in the field, I could usually be found in the basement of Clark A-wing collecting data in the Archaeological Repository. I often joked that I lived in the laboratory, and at times, this statement wasn’t far from the truth, but I was driven by the prospect of discovery and learning.”

– Ashley Goodfellow (Packard) BA’15, Archaeology Technician, Cultural Surveys Hawaii, Inc.

“Without question my time at CSU helped get me where I am today. There are many people in the department to thank for that but first and foremost is Dr. Jason LaBelle whose mentorship, guidance, and friendship was a driving force that challenged me to become a better archaeologist and anthropologist. Jason helped to open many doors, including working with the public, giving public and professional presentations, and helping to mentor and train undergraduate students volunteering in the CMPA lab as well as on my thesis research. I will always treasurer my time in the department and the many friends I made along the way. My advice to current students, both graduate and undergraduate, is to take ownership of your education. Get involved, seek out ways to volunteer for different projects or in different labs, explore your career, and take advantage of the many opportunities available to you at CSU. Your time to be free, to explore new ideas, to sit down and read a journal article, or sit in the lab and debate a variety of topics with your peers is precious and fleeting; take advantage of this time and become an active participant in your education.”

– Chris Johnston MA’16, Operations Director, Paleocultural Research Group