Course Exam—ANTH 272(Introduction to Archaeology)

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ANTH 272 is a three-credit introductory course to Archaeology that falls under the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.  This course will offer you an extensive overview of the theories, methods, and the different practices of archaeology.  ANTH 272 also examines the methods and material remains used to study the past.  This course is designed for Anthropology and Archaeology majors, or anyone looking for Humanities/Social Sciences elective.  The course itself has no prerequisite.

Why You Should Take This Course

For anyone who is interested in anthropology or archaeology, potentially majoring in this field or simply looking to learn more about the study of human activity through various forms of recovery and analysis of material remains, this is the course for you!

We asked a few students who recently completed ANTH 272 why they took the course and if they recommend it to others, and the students that took the course mentioned the initial reason they took the course was because they required some social science credits for their degrees.  However, upon taking anthropology or archaeology courses, they developed strong interest and passion for the courses and ended up taking further anthropology and archaeology courses to fill all their other social science credit requirements.  The students who have taken ANTH 272 highly recommended this course to others looking for credits, as well as those taking a degree in Anthropology.  They liked the course because they found the information and facts interesting, especially the unit about the various types of preservation that can affect a site.  Students also highly credited their tutor for her support and guidance in the course.

Course, Assignment, Midterm and Final Exam Details

ANTH 272 is divided into three units with Unit 1 exploring the Framework of Archaeology, Unit 2 focusing on Discovering the Variety of Human Experience, and the final Unit 3 the World of Archaeology.  Each unit is divided into a few lessons.  The first two units require students to take notes from the two textbooks assigned to the course, and reading the study guide commentary, along with viewing the documentary “The African Burial Ground,” which will be featured in the assignments and midterm/final exam.

The course itself is composed of two quizzes each worth five percent each.  There are two assignments, with assignment one being worth 20% and assignment two worth 30%.  The course includes a midterm and final exam each worth 20% that must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator.  Students are required to achieve a minimum of 50% on both the midterm, final exam and an overall mark of D (50%) for the entire course to pass.

Introducing Dr.  Laurie Milne – Course Tutor

Dr. Laurie Milne sitting outside a chambered tomb on the island of Mainland, near Kirkwall, Orkney.

The course coordinator for ANTH 272 is Dr. Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown and the course tutor is Dr. Laurie Milne. We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Milne about the course.

Dr. Milne completed her Honors BA in Archaeology in 1968 and her MA in Archaeology in 1971, both at the University of Calgary and commenced employment at Medicine Hat College in 1971 and remained there until June 2015.   While on sabbatical and leave from MHC, she attended Simon Fraser University and received her PhD in Archaeology in 1994.  Dr. Milne commenced work as a tutor with AU in 1999 and has also served as an SME, authoring 3 courses, Anth 272, Anth 320, and Anth 394.  She also served as an interim coordinator of archaeology courses for 3 years until Dr. Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown came to AU.

The focus of Dr.Milne’s studies has been lithic technology, cultural ecology, anthropological archaeology, ecological archaeology, and hunting and gathering societies and the challenges they faced in provisioning themselves and their families.  She owes her interest in subsistence activities to her mother, an avid fly fisherwoman and gardener!  From the time she was two years old her mother would backpack her to favorite fishing holes.  Dr. Milne, her parents, and her grandparents spent many weekends picking wild cranberries, blueberries, saskatoons, and chokecherries.  “Huge vegetable gardens supplied much of our food” and, at age 3, Dr. Milne was given her first small garden space.  When she was 12, a summer vacation with relatives (who were avocational archaeologists) provided the experience of handling stone tools and visiting archaeological sites left by prehistoric First Nations people.  Dr. Milne’s mother encouraged her interest in archaeology by taking her to many different locales where artifacts were eroding out of cultivated fields and blowouts.

In 1964 Dr.  Milne graduated from high school, the same year, coincidentally, that the University of Calgary opened the first archaeology department at a North American university; Dr. Milne was a member of their first class of students.  The program of studies provided background in the four fields of anthropology: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, anthropological linguistics, and archaeology but it also included interdisciplinary science courses in vertebrate paleontology, osteology, palynology, geomorphology, and soils.  Dr. Milne’s interest in interdisciplinary research derives from her U of C experiences and was further developed at SFU.  While a graduate student at the U of C Dr.  Milne had the opportunity to teach her first class, a unit on Indians of the Northwest Coast.  She immediately knew that teaching would become her life’s work.   It was the classroom and students that drew Dr. Milne in and made her excited for each day, an excitement that remains to the present.

How to Be Successful in the Course

Dr. Laurie Milne’s Advice for the Course

“When I call new students I always tell them that Anthropology 272: Introduction to Archaeology is a demanding course in terms of its two texts, required video,  and coursework, however, the assignments largely require use of course materials rather than library research; quizzes are open book and untimed;  the quizzes and assignments foreshadow many exam questions; the subjects under study are diverse and interesting; and I am available to help them be successful in their course experience.

I note that Anthropology 272 provides a great foundation for other archaeology courses and point out that the main course text (Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn- Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice) is reputed to be the #1 selling  introductory archaeology text in the world and that the articles in the book of readings (Robert J. Muckle- Reading Archaeology: An Introduction) have been judiciously selected by the editor,  a college professor from Capilano University College in North Vancouver.

I provide extensive comments on all quizzes, assignments, and exams and where appropriate I illustrate by using my personal experiences in archaeology.  Some students find critical thinking challenging but questions in each unit of the Study Guide and in assignments generally provide practice which helps students develop such skills.  The major research assignment has been modified due to pandemic circumstances and to fit the abilities of students.”

Thank you so much to Dr.  Milne for sharing her story and valuable advice to the course!

Student Tips

Course Overview

For this course, we were able to interview one of the students who recently completed ANTH 272, and they stated that this course thoroughly covers all basic aspects of archaeology.  When the student compared ANTH 272 to ANTH 277, which is another course they were taking concurrently, they mentioned that ANTH 272 contains a lot of details about subjects, dating processes, archaeological paradigms, and famous archaeological findings.  The course itself comes with two hardcopy textbooks, one is the main text, and the other text contains all supplementary readings.  When asked whether the textbooks were helpful, students from ANTH 272 mentioned the main textbook is extremely helpful and contains lots of information that is enquired in the quizzes and assignments.  Students mentioned there is also a required video and various optional videos that can be watched online or ordered as a DVD via the AU Library.


Assignment one is three short essays.  Each is 750–1,000 words.  Students are provided with six topics and permitted to choose their three topics.  The second assignment is a longer paper (one student who completed the course mentioned their second assignment was about 20 pages but that includes charts, photos, and references) based on the weeks’ worth of household garbage.  Students mentioned that assignment two required a lot of work but received extensive support from the tutor and that made things much smoother and easier.  The two quizzes are composed of paragraph-length answers, but, ideally, the more detail the better.  Quizzes are documents that can be done at student’s own time and are not in exam format.  The second quiz is like the first quiz but focuses on the final unit.

When we asked students for tips and suggestions in succeeding in the course, students suggested it is important to pay attention to the list of terms and concepts at the beginning of each lesson, as these are “need-to-know” facts that will be tested in the quizzes.  It is also important for students to take detailed notes, especially from the main textbook assigned readings.  Students also recommended watching the optional videos scattered throughout the course as they found it very enjoyable and helpful, but they do not contain information that will be tested on assignments/quizzes/exams.

Students praised the course tutor, Dr. Laurie Milne for being the best tutor they had from all the AU courses they have taken so far.  Dr. Milne was praised as being very helpful, answering all their questions, and being extremely proactive about speaking with students over the phone to discuss the course at the beginning of the term.  Dr. Milne also gave detailed instructions and support for the lengthier second assignment.  Students found she gave clear guidelines of her expectations on quizzes, assignments, and exams, and provided constructive criticism that helped them improve significantly throughout the course.  Students also found Dr. Milne responded to emails the same day they emailed her, and that they would receive marks often within an hour to a day after submitting assignments.  Overall, students found Dr.  Milne very approachable and readily available for support.

Midterm and Final Exam

Exams follow the same format as the quizzes and include 4 identification questions, 2 compare/contrast questions and 3 essays.  All  offer choices except    the compulsory essay, which  deals with the required video.


If you would like to learn more about the course prior to registering, please feel free to contact the Course Coordinator, Dr.  Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown at  Happy studying!

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