Fall 2021 Short Course: Introduction to R Programming for Historical Archaeologists


DAACS Open Academy’s Fall 2021 Short Course introduces historical archaeologists to R, a programming language and environment for statistical computing. R has many advantages, first and foremost it is free and Open Source. It is supported by a large community of talented programmers, and has excellent graphics and plotting capabilities.

This short course series offers seven two-hour classes aimed at introducing archaeologists to R. The lessons are designed for beginners and assumes that participants have no experience with programming.

Each lesson will be recorded and provided online shortly after the lesson is completed. Please also visit the DAACS Open Academy GitHub repository for links to workshop videos, workshop slides, and other resources related to the short course.


Lesson 1: Introduction to R, Part 1
Date: Friday, September 24
Time: 12 – 2 pm ET
Instructor: Peter Alonzi, Lead of Research Computing, School of Data Science, University of Virginia
Lesson Description: What is R? Why should we be interested in using it? What are its key parts? In this class, you will learn about the program, why it is ideal for archaeological analysis and data sharing, and learn how to write your first program in R.
Register Here

Lesson 2: Introduction to R, Part 2
Date: Friday, October 8
Time: 12 – 2 pm ET
Instructor: Peter Alonzi, Lead of Research Computing, School of Data Science, University of Virginia
Lesson Description: Building on Part I, participants are introduced to  actions, such as how to import a dataset in R. If you have your own digital dataset, we will also give you instructions in this class on how to get it ready for Lesson 7.
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Lesson 3: Small Steps with R
Date: Friday, October 22
Time: 12 – 2 pm ET
Instructor: Elizabeth Bollwerk, Project Manager for DAACS
Lesson Description: This lesson reinforces key concepts from Lessons 5 and 6 (Introduction to R). Practice your budding R skills with exercises using real archaeological datasets. We walk you through each one, step-by-step.
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Lesson 4: Using R to Clean Data
Date: Friday, November 5
Time: 12 – 2 pm ET
Instructor: Jillian Galle, DAACS Project Director, Sarah Platt, DAACS Archaeological Analystm and Elizabeth Bollwerk, Project Manager for DAACS
Lesson Description: Learn how to seriate data using R and produce plots by frequency and stratigraphy, and learn how to seriate different analytical groups.
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Lesson 5: Mean Ceramic Dates and TPQs in R
Date: Friday, November 19
Time: 12 – 2 pm ET
Instructor: Jillian Galle, DAACS Project Director, and Fraser Neiman, Director of Archaeology, Monticello
Lesson Description: This class teaches students how to calculate Mean Ceramic Dates and TPQs using ceramic ware types. We walk students through the code using a real archaeological dataset. We discuss each step of the program, and show how it can be adapted for use with your own data.
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Lesson 6: Calculate and Plot Relative Frequencies and Abundance Indices in R
Date: Friday, December 3
Time: 12 – 2 pm ET
Instructor: Jillian Galle, DAACS Project Director, and Fraser Neiman, Director of Archaeology, Monticello
Lesson Description: This class introduces students to simple calculations in R, including relative frequencies and abundance indices. The work will build off the dataset used in previous lessons.
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Lesson 7: Learn Seriation in R
Date: Friday, December 17
Time: 12 – 2 pm ET
Instructor: Fraser Neiman, Director of Archaeology, Monticello
Lesson Description: Learn how to seriate data using R and produce plots by frequency and stratigraphy, and learn how to seriate different analytical groups.
Register Here