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The Center for Archaeology and Society exploits archaeology’s unique ability to acquire knowledge of ancient cultures to inform the present. The center is concerned with artifacts, archaeological sites and ancient landscapes – the objects, buildings and places of the past – both in their own right and for what they tell us about the societies that made and used them.
The Center for Archaeology and Society investigates the organizational strategies, management of resources and technological developments of ancient societies in order to understand the ways in which they adapted to their environments. Through these efforts the center addresses contemporary concerns with sustainability, the implications of technology and the resilience of different forms of social and economic organization, particularly in arid regions such as the U.S. Southwest. The center pursues this mission with innovative efforts in academic research; physical and digital object curation; formal and informal education; and community engagement.
The center encompasses and expands the research, curation, education and outreach activities formerly associated with the Archaeological Research Institute, the Deer Valley Rock Art Center, the Museum of Anthropology collections and exhibits and the Southwest Archaeological Field School. It partners with the Center for Digital Antiquity, the Teotihuacan Research Laboratory, the U.S. Southwest/Northwest Mexico Connections Project and other School of Human Evolution and Social Change initiatives.
The Center for Archaeology and Society continues the present integration of museum studies learning with scholarship and programming in School of Human Evolution and Social Change exhibition facilities. Center collections, exhibition facilities and research initiatives serve as “laboratories” for ASU’s museum studies master's degree and certificate programs, which are administered by the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and directed by school faculty. Museum studies students get hands-on experience in exhibition development, collections management, museum administration and other practices within the museum studies curriculum.
The center develops the museum studies teaching agenda, training students to produce and interpret collections, exhibits, and museum programs and communications, taking advantage – when appropriate – of the center’s extensive collections and focusing on center themes. The center provides the context for theoretical research in museum studies and the production of theoretically informed readings of School of Human Evolution and Social Change’s and other interpreted spaces. In addition, the school's undergraduate and graduate students engaged in Southwestern research participate in center research and in outreach supported by the center.