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What is archaeology?

Archaeology, which is the study of past human activities, is of interest to a wide variety of people. This study, which is housed in the anthropology program, also works together with Art History, History, and the Physical Sciences. Students at Oakland University who choose the archaeology concentration are trained in an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving. The concentration prepares students for further graduate studies or involvement in their local community museums and historic preservation activities. We work in both the historic and prehistoric periods. In addition to a wide range of courses, we provide field, lab. and internship opportunities. A student Anthropology Club provides students a chance to meet others with similar interests.

Requirements for the Concentration in Archaeology

A minimum of 28 credits are required for this program:

1. Core:

AH 100, AN 101 and 222

2. One of the following courses:

AH 310, 312, 314, 380; AN 282, 370, 371, 380, 384, 395

3. 8 credits in field methods (AN 383)

4. At least 4 elective credits. The following courses are recommended for those who wish to expand their background: AH 322, 326; HST 261, 306, 367 and PHY 107

Summer Field School in Israel

Oakland University provides an archaeological field school in Israel during the months of June/July.  We select students in January and we begin the planning process immediately for that summer's excavation.  We have been digging at the site of Khirbet Qeiyafa, Israel since 2009.  Please contact Michael Pytlik () no later than the beginning of January if you are interested.  We provide significant funding for the trip, but students do pay a portion of the trip.  Students must satisfy at least two field school credits while in Israel, and up to 8 total credits is possible for this trip.

The following courses are related to the excavation, but the trip is not a requirement for these courses.

1. AN 395/REL 300 Special Topics: Archaeology of Israel, Part I  (offered winter semesters)
2. AN 395/REL 300 Special Topics:  Archaeology of Israel, Part II (offered fall semesters)
3. AN 395 or AN 480 Field School in Israel (as part of the optional trip)

Archaeology of Israel Part I covers the historical periods from Neolithic to the First Century AD.  We cover the methods of Israeli archaeology, significant finds, the formation of the Israelites, the formation of monotheism and the significant events of the Second Temple Period.

Archaeology of Israel Part II covers the beginning of the rabbinic period, emerging Christianity and Islam as well as the three main holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  We ask, what constitutes a holy site?  How does archaeology deal with these sites.  We also cover pilgrim records and how ancient texts have affected our ideas of holy sites.  How archaeology has served modern interpretations of sites, land ownership and claims to the land are other topics in the course.  We also learn about antiquity laws in Israel.

The field school in Israel covers artifact handling and pottery processing, excavation techniques, drawing of plans, and lectures related to archaeology.  On weekends, we travel to important sites in Israel.

Students interested in the Summer Field School in Israel should contact Michael Pytlik at (248) 370-2434 or

  Michael Pytlik is a Visiting Instructor of Anthropology and the newly-appointed Director of Judaic Studies. He teaches The Archaeology of Israel, God Through Jewish History, Written Tradition of Judaism, and Intro. to Judaism. He is a frequent traveler to Israel, and has participated in several excavations in Israel. Since 2009 he has organized and leads a group of OU students to Israel for a tour and dig. Students interested in this program should consider the Archaeology of Israel courses and contact Mike by early January if they wish to go on the trip.   He is interested in the formation of the Israelite state, the development of the synagogue, Jewish Theology and Hebrew. He is very active in the Jewish community, is involved in Christian and Muslim Jewish dialogue groups.  Mike is also the current faculty adviser for the Jewish Student Organization on campus. 

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