Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage

NEW for 2017-18!  Courses in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies

Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies is situated at the intersection of arts and sciences, with the intention of deploying multiple disciplines to preserve, protect, and study the works of the past, and with a design to prepare and protect them for the future. It is concerned with both decoding art and artifacts to enable students and scholars across disciplines to interpret origins and histories through multiple techniques, tools, and research and also with understanding and managing changing materials, including the causes of deterioration of cultural heritage and the identification of effective treatment for preservation. Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies crosses many disciplinary fields, including but not limited to archaeology, history of art, architecture, materials science, conservation studies, engineering, computer science, and chemistry.

The extraordinary collections of the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, along with the cutting-edge research facilities of the Institute for Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) at Yale’s West Campus, offer an unparalleled opportunity for students to engage with the many dimensions of cultural heritage and its preservation. Although there is currently no certificate or official program offered for heritage and preservation studies, there are many courses through students can engage in the 2017-2018 academic year. The listing here is by no means comprehensive. For further information, students should contact the Senior Director of the IPCH, Mary Miller (, Sterling Professor of the History of Art.

2017-2018 Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies Courses

ARCG 001a / AFST 001a / NELC 001a, Egypt and Northeast Africa: A Multidisciplinary Approach  John Darnell

Examination of approximately 10,000 years of Nile Valley cultural history, with an introduction to the historical and archaeological study of Egypt and Nubia. Consideration of the Nile Valley as the meeting place of the cultures and societies of northeast Africa. Various written and visual sources are used, including the collections of the Peabody Museum and the Yale Art Gallery. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

ARCG 385a / ANTH 385a, Archaeological Ceramics  Anne Underhill

Archaeological methods for analyzing and interpreting ceramics, arguably the most common type of object found in ancient sites. Focus on what different aspects of ceramic vessels reveal about the people who made them and used them.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

ARCG 316Lb / ANTH 316Lb, Introduction to Archaeological Laboratory Sciences  Roderick McIntosh and Eckart Frahm

Introduction to techniques of archaeological laboratory analysis, with quantitative data styles and statistics appropriate to each. Topics include dating of artifacts, sourcing of ancient materials, remote sensing, and microscopic and biochemical analysis. Specific techniques covered vary from year to year.
W 2:30pm-5:30pm

ARCG 450a / ANTH 450a, Analysis of Lithic Technology  Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

Introduction to the analysis of chipped and ground stone tools, including instruction in manufacturing chipped stone tools from obsidian. Review of the development of stone tool technology from earliest tools to those of historical periods; relevance of this technology to subsistence, craft specialization, and trade. Discussion of the recording, analysis, and drawing of artifacts, and of related studies such as sourcing and use-wear analysis.  SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am

ARCH 385a / AMST 198a / HIST 152a / PLSC 279a / SOCY 149a, New Haven and the American City Elihu Rubin and Alan Plattus

Introduction to urban studies using New Haven as a model for the American city. Emphasis on historical development; urban planning; the built environment; transportation and infrastructure; reform and redevelopment; architecture and urban design; sustainability and equity.   SO
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm

MB&B 218La / HSAR 218La, Art and Biomolecular Recognition Laboratory  Andrew Miranker

Students create and execute original projects in materials science using biotechnological tools. Introduction to the technical examination of art, with analysis of works from Yale University Art Gallery collections; the chemical basis of artist’s materials; applied techniques in biomolecular evolution. This course will meet one day a week on West Campus in Room A222B and one day a week on main campus. Prerequisite: college-level chemistry and/or biology, or the equivalent in advanced placement. Enrollment limited; preference to students not majoring in the biological sciences. Preregistration required; interested students should e-mail the instructor prior to the first week of classes.  SC  RP
TTh 2:30pm-4:30pm

CPSC 276b, Applications in the Digital Humanities  Benedict Brown

Introduction to applications of computer and data science in the humanities, including web technologies, visualization, and database design. Students work in teams to develop a variety of applications proposed by faculty and staff from the Digital Humanities Lab, the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, and the Computer Science department. Prerequisite: CPSC 110CPSC 112, equivalent programming experience, or permission of the instructor.   QR
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

ANTH 207b / ARCG 207, The Sustainable Preservation of Cultural Heritage  Stefan Simon

Understanding the complex factors that challenge the preservation of cultural heritage through introduction to scientific techniques for condition assessment and preservation, including materials analysis and digitization tools in the lab and in the field. Students learn about collection care and the science used to detect forgeries and fakes; international legal and professional frameworks that enable cross-cultural efforts to combat trafficking in antiquities; and how to facilitate preservation.  SO  RP

ART 006a, Art of the Printed Word  Richard Rose

Introduction to the art and historical development of letterpress printing and to the evolution of private presses. Survey of hand printing; practical study of press operations using antique platen presses and the cylinder proof press. Material qualities of printed matter, connections between content and typographic form, and word/image relationships. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

ART 332a, Painting Time  Samuel Messer

Painting techniques paired with conceptual ideas that explore how painting holds time both metaphorically and within the process of creating a work. Use of different Yale locations as subjects for observational on-site paintings. Materials fee: $75. Prerequisite: ART 130230, or 231, or with permission of instructor.  HU  RP
M 3:30pm-7:20pm, W 3:30pm-5:20pm

AMST 231a / WGSS 231a, Introduction to Digital Humanities  Laura Wexler and Angel Nieves

The application of computational methods such as text analysis, mapping, and network analysis to traditional and new forms of inquiry in the humanities. What methods are best for which forms of inquiry, how to apply those methods, and how new questions arise in the process. The limitations and challenges as well as the promises of digital humanities.  HU
M 2:30pm-4:20pm

AMST 484b / HSAR 493b / WGSS 462b, Visual Kinship, Families, and Photography  Laura Wexler

Exploration of the history and practice of family photography from an interdisciplinary perspective. Study of family photographs from the analog to the digital era, from snapshots to portraits, and from instrumental images to art exhibitions. Particular attention to the ways in which family photographs have helped establish gendered and racial hierarchies and examination of recent ways of reconceiving these images.  HU
T 3:30pm-5:30pm

F&ES 020a / EVST 020a, Sustainable Development in Haiti  Gordon Geballe

The principles and practice of sustainable development explored in the context of Haiti’s rich history and culture, as well as its current environmental and economic impoverishment. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  WR
TTh 9am-10:15am

HSAR 463a / ER&M 378a, Material History of Twentieth-Century Photography  Monica Bravo and Paul Messier

Study of the materials of 20th-century photography, from black and white and color to today’s digital and ‘dematerialized’ photographs to better understand that the material history of a photograph plays a critical role in the interpretation of context, intention, authenticity, and preservation.   HU
F 1:30pm-3:20pm

HSAR 466a, The Technical Examination of Art  Ian McClure

Introduction to methods used in the technical examination of works of art, including critical assessment of the information such methods provide. What technical examination can reveal about the materials and techniques used in a particular work’s creation and about its subsequent history.
T 2:30pm-4:20pm

HSAR 749/ARCG646/ANTH646, Three Thousand Years of Mexican Feasting Mary Miller and Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazarigos

This course sits at the cusp of anthropology and art history, considered through the lens of the most central of human activities, the consumption of food. Feasting was integral to the prehispanic peoples of Mesoamerica, who domesticated and cultivated maize, beans, chocolate, vanilla, tomatoes, chilies, and squashes, and served dogs, ducks, and turkeys on the most festive of occasions. They developed special ceramics, from elaborate tamale plates to tall chocolate pots, for ritual service, some of which then became assemblages with which to honor the dead, and sometimes preserving a performance otherwise not visible in the present. In this course, the role of food both as object of ritual and performance and as subject is examined.
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

G&G 336a / ANTH 336a / ARCG 336a, Geoarchaeology  Ellery Frahm

A survey of the numerous ways in which theories, approaches, techniques, and data from the earth and environmental sciences are used to address archaeological research questions. A range of interfaces between archaeology and the geological sciences are considered. Topics include stratigraphy, geomorphology, site formation processes, climate reconstruction, site location, and dating techniques. Prior introductory coursework in archaeology or geology (or instructor permission) suggested.  SC, SO
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm


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Students from historically black colleges participated in a week-long program at Yale this summer to learn about career opportunities in conservation of cultural heritage.
Yale’s Professor Michael Coe and three of his former graduate students — including Professor Mary Miller — determined that a Maya document once denounced as a fake was...