ARCHY 469 A: Special Studies In Archaeology

Meeting Time: 
MW 10:30am - 12:20pm
BMM 112
Sven L. Haakanson
Sven D. Haakanson

Syllabus Description:

Welcome to


ARCHY 469, Spring 2016
Monday and Wednesday 10:30 AM -12:20 PM

What is this class about?
Boats are human inventions that allowed some of the most incredible migrations in our history. They contain histories of technology, adaptation and people's lives. How do we analyze and document boats to give us access to these histories? What can boats tell us? How do we care for them? How do we share the knowledge and stories they contain?

This course is an exploration of these topics. Using the Burke Museum's large and diverse collection of traditional dugout and skin boats (both full size and models) from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the warmer waters of the tropical Pacific and Southeast Asia, we will learn to document and preserve many different types of boats. We hope to have visits to the class by guest boatbuilders from Indonesia, Alaska and local Coast Salish communities, and make several field trips to boat workshops and other museums. Students will learn how to record boat shapes and construction process, build boat models and tools, conduct ethnographic interviews with traditional boat builders, and learn photography and video skills. We will explore connections between contemporary boat building and use with archaeological information about voyaging, migrations, trade, fishing and marine mammal hunting.

Where do we meet?
We meet in the Burke Museum Classroom. The easiest way to reach the classroom is by entering the Burke Museum from the staff entrance at the loading dock area on the west side of the building. The classroom is immediately on your left as you enter. You do not need to check in with the desk staff there (but you can say hi). The less easy but more fun route is to enter the main door on the east side (flash your UW ID at the friendly staff inside the door, the Burke is always FREE for all UW students), and check out the exhibits on your way downstairs to the classroom. We will frequently visit the Burke Museum's off site warehouse, where many full size boats are stored (transportation provided).

Meet your instructors:

Sven Haakanson:
I am a Curator of North American Anthropology the Burke and an Ethnoarchaeologist. I research museum collections to learn about Sugpiat objects and then work to repatriate this knowledge through hands on learning at UW and to my tribe on Kodiak Island, Alaska. My last project, we built a 25 foot traditional Angyaaq, an open boat, in the Burke Gallery. We learned how build it from a model in the Burke collection. I grew up on Kodiak Island and spent over 20 years commercial salmon fishing near the village of Old Harbor. I enjoy working on boats and kayaks. 

Peter Lape (Links to an external site.):
I am an archaeologist and Curator of Archaeology at the Burke. My research is focused on Island Southeast Asia, where I am currently exploring the transition to agriculture on small tropical islands starting about 4,000 years ago. Before I became an archaeologist, I wanted to be a boatbuilder, and still work on building and restoring traditional boats as a hobby. I also love sailing and kayaking and have taken boat trips in many parts of the world.

How to contact us outside of class meeting times:
Please use the Canvas message system. Please start your message with a polite greeting and use a helpful subject heading. Also, please be nice, spell things correctly, and use complete sentences. We will answer your message as soon as we can within normal business hours. 

What can you learn in this class?

  • Figure out the strange and wonderful ways anthropologists and archaeologists see the world around them,
  • use that perspective to delve into the ways humans interact with and think about material objects,
  • and apply your new anthropological and archaeological understanding of boat technology to explore questions of human history and adaptation

What are the assignments and how are grades calculated?
This is a hands-on and discussion oriented course with minimal instructor lectures. For this to work, we all need to do the assigned reading on time and be prepared to participate in enthusiastic talking, questioning and trying new and unfamiliar skills when we meet as a group.

We will figure out what grade to give you at the end of the quarter using this breakdown:

  • 30% class participation and engagement
  • 20% reading and field trip response assignments (2 points each)
  • 20% hands-on projects and reports (5 points each)
  • 30% final project

Click here for a draft schedule overview.

What are the rules and policies?

  • Late submissions will not be accepted unless you make alternate arrangements prior to the due date. Get those assignments in on time or accept the consequences.
  • Please notify us in advance if you have to miss a class meeting, a quick email before class is sufficient. We will miss you.
  • Please do not email asking for a summary of a class you missed (that is what your fellow students are for).
  • Electronic devices (laptops, tablets, phones, etc.) may not be used in class without our permission. We are as addicted to them as you are. Think of our 4 hours a week together as group therapy.
  • We welcome ongoing feedback about the class. Please feel free to send us suggestions for improvement at any time during the quarter.
  • You are expected to produce your own work in this class. Plagiarism or any other form of cheating will not be tolerated. There won't really be any good opportunities to cheat, actually. All students are expected to uphold the University of Washington standard of student conduct. (Links to an external site.)
  • The Disabled Student Services (DSS) Office (Links to an external site.) coordinates academic accommodations for enrolled students, University staff, and academic personnel with documented disabilities. 

Catalog Description: 
Consideration in detail of specific archaeological topics, either methodological or substantive in content, of current interest. Offered occasionally by resident, new, or visiting faculty. For advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Prerequisite: ARCHY 205.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:50pm