/ Academics / Departments & Programs / History / Academics Archaeology Minor

Degree Overview

Join a small, faith-infused program that prioritizes hands-on learning. You might do research at the internationally -known Umm el-Jimal Project in Jordan , or learn in Calvin's cutting-edge archaeology lab.

At Calvin, you'll discover an ethical perspective on archaeology and history that looks beyond dates and artifacts. You might engage with refugees living near archaeological sites, or see how ancient water systems can provide clean water to threatened communities.

A minor in archaeology gives you valuable skills in history, art, geology, and many other disciplines. It complements and deepens almost any other field of study—from engineering to music.

Program Distinctives

Hands-on learning - You'll find plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty, from trips to the 2000-year-old Umm el-Jimal site in Jordan to campus lab work and research.
Versatile degree - The archaeology minor program is extremely flexible--you'll tailor your program to match your interests and vocational goals.
Pairs with other degrees - The experience and critical-thinking skills you'll nurture in the archaeology program are a great match for nearly any other major. From history to geology to social work, an archaeology degree brings added depth to many other fields.

Degree Information

  • Overview

    The flexible archaeology minor program enables you to tailor your program with your advisor to match your interests and vocational goals. The minor may be taken in conjunction with any major. It is designed to serve both those students who wish to study archaeology out of extra-vocational interest and those who wish to be qualified for graduate programs in archaeology.

    For the minor you may select a coherent set of four elective courses with the help and approval of an advisor in the minor program. This selection should be appropriate to your major and in keeping with your chosen interests, specialized skills, and plans for further study. Such a program design could stress specialized interests such as material analysis or computer graphics among others and choices from various fields in old world, new world, or marine archaeology for which field schools are available.

    There are no modern language requirements for the archaeology minor, but you should consider where you plan to practice archaeology in your choice of college core language requirements. For old world archaeology the best modern language choices besides English are French or German, while Spanish is useful for much of new world archaeology.

    Museum studies

    The minor incorporates museum studies, including a museum internship taken by most minors. In the near future we expect to expand the museum side of our offerings.


    The archaeology minor requires you to take one course that involves significant work with artifacts. If you cannot satisfy this requirement with archaeological fieldwork, a internship at an organization such as a museum is another way to do so.

  • Courses
  • Advising

    The group minor in archaeology is administered by an inter-departmental archaeology minor committee. The members of the committee are D. Rohl (History), Program Coordinator, R. Stearley (Geology), K. Pomykala (Religion), H. Luttikhuizen (Art), and T. VandenBerg (Sociology).

    Interested students should consult the Program Coordinator or a member of the archaeology minor committee for admission to and planning of the archaeology minor.

  • About the Archaeology Program

    Archaeology has a fascination that attracts students through stories of spectacular discoveries ranging from paleolithic humans to fabulous tombs (pyramids), amazing temples (Mayan cities), and precious objects (King Tut's mask) and through romanticized movies like The Mummy, Indiana Jones, and the Lara Croft series.

    Archaeology at Calvin University is designed to penetrate that husk of archaeological myth to introduce students to the serious scientific practices that make up the profession. The program will move you from the aura of discovery and treasure hunting to the serious techniques of excavation, analysis, and presentation of results, which are moving increasingly into the worlds of the scientific laboratory and computer programming.

    Our goal is not the unearthing of treasure but answers to more significant and, yes, more interesting questions: How can the material remains people left behind tell us how they lived? And what meaning did their lives have as individuals and social groups?


    The archaeology minor grew out of student participation in field work conducted by Professor Bert de Vries in Jordan from 1972 to the present. These projects offered field schools in which students enrolled for credit through the sponsoring institution, in most cases de Vries' own, Calvin University. Then in the 1990s, student involvement was expanded to the archaeology minor. Through the '90s, the field school was attached to the Umm el-Jimal Project in Jordan. But in the past decade, students have had field placements in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Jordan, China, Belize, Indian, and Arizona as well as at Umm el-Jimal. At Calvin, archaeology minors are able to study and practice archaeology anywhere in the world.

    The program stresses thorough grounding in archaeological theory as a prerequisite for doing the required field work. As a result, Calvin University students have received excellent reviews from field school directors; they even compare favorably with students enrolled in graduate archaeology programs.


    Students often ask why Calvin University does not offer an archaeology major. The answer is that a minor is more suitable in an undergraduate liberal arts institution, where the stress is on attaining expertise in the various disciplines, like history, art, and geology. This grounding in a discipline is itself preparation for archaeology, which is inter-disciplinary, and really requires prior education in one of the essential disciplines. For example, if you would like to be a specialist in artifact restoration, an undergraduate concentration in chemistry would be essential preparation. With this combination, a major in a discipline and a minor in archaeology, a student is qualified for MA and PhD level graduate study, for-pay field work in contract archaeology, teaching archaeology units at primary and secondary levels, and reading archaeology publications intelligently.


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