In US popular culture, the word “archaeology” often conjures up images of buried treasure, ancient ruins, daring adventurers, and perhaps even dinosaurs or aliens. In reality, the discipline of archaeology is the study of the material traces of the human past. These traces include everything from human-made objects such as pottery, stone tools, and architecture, to animal bones, plant remains, and human skeletons. Rather than seeking out individual artifacts because of their aesthetic or monetary value (*cough, cough* Indiana Jones, *cough, cough*), archaeologists excavate and analyze artifacts and remains because they provide evidence of how past people lived and how ancient societies were organized. Archaeology is important because it allows us to access the entire scope of human history, from the Paleolithic to the present day, providing us with an understanding of what it means to be human across space and over time. This does not, however, mean that archaeology is a value- free discipline; instead, archaeological questions are shaped by history and culture. In this course, we will critically examine how archaeologists ask and answer questions about the human past, while exploring how their research is received in popular culture.