The concentration in the archaeology or art of the Near East examines the material culture of southwest Asia from the Neolithic to Roman periods, with particular emphasis on socio-political, economic, and ideological variables and their relation to societal structure and change.

Students may pursue a program with a specialization in either archaeology or art.

Regardless of which specialization is chosen, students will become familiar with archaeological and anthropological theory and method in addition to the Near Eastern evidence. Because the material culture data will be considered within the context of ancient Near Eastern studies, students are also expected to become familiar with ancient Near Eastern language and history.

Students can also choose to focus on applications of spatial technologies in archaeology, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), satellite imagery mapping, and geoarchaeology (see non-language minor below).

As part of their major area of study, Near Eastern archaeology and art students are expected to take archaeology and art history seminars offered by the department in consultation with their adviser. Near Eastern art students are also expected to take classes in art historical methods and theories offered by the History of Art Department.


Students will pursue two minors, at least one of which will consist of a minor in language.

Language Minor

All students will be responsible for a minor in one ancient language, e.g., Akkadian, Biblical Hebrew, Egyptian. A second language minor is also possible in lieu of the non-language minor.

Non-Language Minor

For a non-language minor, students can choose to focus on the archaeology or art of an area other than their major area (e.g., Egyptian archaeology); they may create a minor through selected courses in other departments; or they may choose to focus on applications of spatial technologies in archaeology (i.e. GIS, satellite imagery, GPS mapping).

Comprehensive Examinations

Comprehensive examinations will be given in the following areas:

For archaeology students:

  • Archaeological method and theory
  • Archaeology of the Near East (southwest Asia)
  • Language
  • Non-language minor or second language minor.

For art students:

  • Art history method and theory (including relevant archaeology and anthropology method and theory)
  • Art and architecture of the Near East (southwest Asia)
  • Language
  • Non-language minor or second language minor.

Courses in Other Departments

Archaeology and art students are encouraged to take (or audit) courses in other departments, depending on their research interests.


Participation in field projects in the Near East, department-sponsored or otherwise, is recommended for all archaeology and art students.

Museum Work

Research and internships in local museums such as the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore or the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., or farther afield, are encouraged.