Archaeological Explorations at Vancouver Island University’s Powell River Campus

As a working archaeologist Dr. Edgar has excavated sites around the world (including this Bronze Age Ring Ditch in Ireland)

This spring, Dr. Mel Edgar gives interested learners in Powell River a chance to dig deep into the past with a four-part Introduction to Archaeology course.

Offered through VIU’s Continuing Education and Elder College, Dr. Edgar’s course will explore the origins of archaeology including excavation, as well as dating and interpreting artefacts.

Dr. Edgar will also be teaching a one-day Archaeological Explorations class which looks at some of the oldest archaeological sites located in the country now known as Canada and the often problematic relationship between archaeology and nationalism.

Course information (including dates and times) are provided below.

Registration is easy and can be done in one of three ways:

  • calling 604-485-2878 (or toll free at 1-877-888-8890)
  • dropping by VIU’s Powell River Campus at 100 – 7085 Nootka Street
  • or by going online at

More information about my course and all the other offerings at VIU’s Continuing Education and Elder College program can be found here.

 Introduction to Archaeology (ARCH 001 I17R01)

4 sessions: Mon, Apr 3 – May 1; 6–7:30pm (no class Mon, Apr 17) $95 +GST
This four-part series explores the origins of archaeology including excavation, dating and interpreting artefacts as well as the challenges of archaeological conservation. With each course, students gain an understanding of the science, and the “art,” of archaeology.
1. Archaeology, an origin story
Explore the origins of archaeology through the excavation of famous sites, including Tutankhamen’s Tomb, the Parthenon as well as early archaeological excavations in BC. This session looks at the foundations of archaeological methods and techniques as eldwork developed from an antiquarian dalliance into a professional science.
2. Archaeologists will date any old thing
What’s old, really old and ancient, in archaeology? How old does something have to be to be of archaeological signi cance anyway? This session provides some insight into the bene ts and pitfalls of scienti c and relative dating techniques, from stratigraphic and typological dating to dendrochronology and radio carbon dating. From archaeological hoaxes such as Piltdown Man to arguments about the date of the Pyramids, this session explores archaeological dating and how it impacts our understanding of ourselves and the past.
3. Interpretation of archaeological finds or “This is not a pipe”
How do archaeologists interpret archaeological nds and sites’ impacts? How are they excavated, studied and understood? We will explore how early interpretations of discoveries ranging from Egyptian tombs to Celtic Sanctuaries have impacted archaeological understandings more widely.
4. Archaeology as destruction
Archaeology is essentially a destructive science. An archaeological context is a non-renewable resource that is lost upon excavation. This means that the onus is on archaeologists to deploy proper excavation and recording techniques to mitigate the destruction. This session explores the challenging variations of archaeology — from the demandingly expensive conservation requirements at Roman Pompeii to development-led excavations at pipeline sites.

Interested in dipping a toe into archaeology? Take Archaeological Explorations, offered through VIU’s Elder College

 Archaeological Explorations (ELDE 062 I17R01) 

1 session: Wed, Apr 19; 1:30-3pm Fee: $17 +GST
Discover how archaeology impacts us today by learning the stories behind some of the world’s most celebrated archaeological artifacts and sites. By discussing the hidden history of famous (and infamous) archaeological discoveries, this class will explore how archaeologists excavate and interpret the remains of the past.

What isArchaeology


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