As one of the four subfields of anthropology, archaeology is the study of culture through material remains. Like its anthropological parentage, archaeology was born out of colonialism as explorers, religious leaders, kings and queens sought to fit the newly discovered peoples of the "New World" into a Biblical timeline. In the early 20th century, archaeology was institutionalized through people like Franz Boas, the "Father of American anthropology", as an academic discipline. Archaeological research in the United States is largely regional with specializations such as lithics (stone tools), ceramics, and paleobotany, among others. While many archaeologists can still be found in universities and museums, cultural resources management (CRM) is a large part of archaeology today.
Thanks to the Antiquities Act of 1906 (the first legislation to govern archaeological resources), The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA), and The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), professional archaeologists work to ensure government and private institutions are in compliance with these laws. Although students seeking employment need a minimum of a bachelor's degree for entry-level jobs such as field technicians, some CRM firms require employees to work within the Register of Professional Archaeologists, a position that requires a master's degree.
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College students studying archaeology will find the following resources useful for homework, research, and professional connections:
Society for American Archaeology
A History of American Archaeology by Gordon Randolph Willey and Jeremy Arac Sabloff
Willow Smoke and Dogs' Tails: Hunter-Gatherer Settlement Systems and Archaeological Site Formation by Lewis R. Binford
A New Deal for Southeastern Archaeology by Edwin A. Lyon
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