The archaeology program is an important component of the Department of Anthropology here at California State University, Chico. Anthropology provides understanding and answers based on a century of exploring the development of human nature, society, and culture. It is the only social science that seeks to understand both human biological and cultural variation in the past and in the present. Through the investigation of patterning in the materials remains of past cultures, Archaeology attempts to understand and describe cultures not represented by the written record. For those past cultures characterized by writing systems, archaeology provides the empirical evidence for comparison and verification of the historic record.

The archaeology program is well represented by professional and highly qualified archaeologists. The array of archaeology courses offered reflect a deliberate attempt to provide a well rounded education in archaeology, including theory, current issues in heritage preservation, temporal and regional foci, as well as lab and field expertise. The anthropology program also offers a certificate in cultural resource management which prepares individuals for careers in conservation, preservation, and management of heritage resources located on public and private lands.

The department offers a Master of Arts in Anthropology. While the MA is in anthropology, many students emphasize archaeology and complete theses that address current archaeological issues, projects, and collections.