List of Free Online Archaeology Courses and Classes

See our list of the top free online archaeology courses. Learn about what courses are available, what topics they cover and whether you can use them to get college credit.

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Free Online Archaeology Course Info

Several schools offer free online courses in archaeology, largely through the OpenCourseWare projects of these institutions. Students can acquire introductory knowledge of archaeological methods and tools through courses that range from survey courses of the ancient world to more specific topics. The extent and type of course materials vary by course provider; some courses require specific software to enable the download of audio and video elements. Students cannot earn credit or interact with instructors through completion of these free online courses.

Gresham College

Gresham College's lectures are presented through transcripts, videos, audio podcasts and PowerPoint.

  • History from Below: Mathematics, Instruments and Archaeology provides students with information about recent archaeological recoveries of simple instruments believed to be used as mathematical devices. These discoveries give information about the types of mathematical skills possessed in the early years of modern England.
  • The Tudor Port of London: An Archaeological Investigation is presented by 3 individual speakers. Students learn about the Tudor Port through an archaeological focus on its shipping, building and traffic trade.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

OpenCourseWare offerings through MIT may not contain all of the materials present in the original classes. Available course materials may be downloaded or viewed online.

  • Ancient City is focused on archaeological evidence in Roman and Greek cities. It features a wide variety of Web links as resources, along with lists of recommended readings and writing assignments.
  • Deep Sea Archaeology examines the methods used for conducting archaeological work in the deep sea, such as excavating shipwrecks. Many links to related resources are provided.
  • Human Origins and Evolution presents topics such as morphological evolution, fossil evidence for human evolution, changes in tool use and human variations. Lecture notes, reading list and assignments are available.
  • The Human Past: Introduction to Archaeology examines the beginnings of early civilizations and agriculture. Lists of readings are available, in addition to unit abstracts and notes.

Open University

The OpenLearn courses available through LearningSpace are available online or through content feed and may be printed or downloaded.

  • Archaeology: The Science of Investigation includes audio podcasts of archaeologists from the British Museum explaining their processes of discovering, investigating and interpreting. Users may also read transcripts with PDF viewers, such as Adobe Reader.
  • Introduction to Material Culture examines what can be found out from objects that can't be learned just from reading. Students learn what material culture is and how to study objects.
  • World Archaeology presents the methodologies and challenges inherent in archaeology, through audio podcasts and PDF transcripts. This unit examines what can be learned from the remains of various cities and empires.

Pennsylvania State University

  • Out of the Past is an instructional video series available for free viewing through Annenberg Learner along with coordinating books and guides. This 8-hour series examines how societies work and change, making connections between the past and present.

Stanford University

  • Hannibal is a lecture series presented in audio podcasts through iTunes. It guides listeners through first-hand experience of the attempt to use archaeology to find Hannibal's exact route through the Alps.

University of California - Irvine

  • Religion and Law in Ancient Greece includes literary accounts and the archaeology of ancient Greece, examining their religion from the Bronze Age through the Hellenistic era. Free online course materials are limited to a list of related links and several PowerPoint presentations, some of which only display images. Nonregistered use of the free course materials doesn't lead to credit; however, UC - Irvine does offer this course for credit through its extension program without requiring formal admission.

Yale College

  • Roman Architecture highlights Roman architectural developments along with urban planning, monuments and murals. Students have access to many images from the presenter's personal collection.

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