The Archaeology of Human Diets: Ancient Origins, Modern Science


Stanford Continuing Studies

The Archaeology of Human Diets: Ancient Origins, Modern Science


In this course, we will explore the archaeological side of human diets in the past. Taking a global perspective, we will look at the diversity of what our human ancestors across environments and cultures ate in the deep (and not-so-deep) past. We will take a special look at how archaeologists know what they do about past human food procurement and diet, exploring methods such as zooarchaeology, stable isotope analysis, archaeobotany, the study of dental calculus, and chemical residue analysis. Additionally, we will consider the ambiguities and the limits of the available data in understanding the diet of our ancestors. We will consider the things popular culture gets both right and wrong about understanding human diets of the past.

What you will learn

  • How archaeologists gather and interpret data to understand the diet of our ancestors
  • Why changes in the way people get food impact socio-cultural systems 
  • How to critically evaluate popular media reporting on the archaeology of food and diets
Course Outline


001 Winter 2019-20 Online

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Dates:April 20 - May 29, 2020
Days: Mon
Delivery Option:
Online Course $350.00

The full tuition refund deadline for this course is April 23 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is April 28 at 5:00 pm (PT)



This course may not currently be available to learners in some states and territories.