The Anthropology Department at UH Hilo currently operates a sizeable archaeology laboratory with facilities for cleaning, sorting, labeling, analyzing, and storing archaeological materials. The Department also has a large preparation room for archaeological fieldwork, and operates a geoarchaeology lab to analyze the geochemical characteristics of lithics. There are opportunities for trained students to participate in archaeological excavations both on Hawai‘i Island and elsewhere. Student internships are available for students to work at the national parks, local museums, and with contract archaeology firms.
A physical anthropology laboratory is also present in the department with facilities for studying human adaptability, osteology, and a variety of aspects of human physiology and variation. Trained students may also participate in biomedical anthropology. Ongoing National Institutes of Health-supported biomedical research is carried out in the human biology laboratory and in the community.
Anthropology students have also been involved in ethnographic research on Hawai‘i Island. Studies of oral histories of Hawai‘i Island communities, as well as the study of culture change on the island are ongoing. Hawai‘i also offers students a natural laboratory of anthropological linguistics, where scholars are studying pidgin and Creole languages and their relationship to an understanding of language in general.
The faculty in anthropology at UH Hilo are committed to undergraduate instruction. This commitment goes beyond the care and energy placed in coursework and extends to extensive work on the individual level with students who major in anthropology. Virtually all anthropology graduates have had at least one, and often several, directed reading/research course, in which the student worked on an individual basis with a faculty member to explore a topic in anthropological research of mutual interest.
The program prides itself on being one of high standards, but also one where the sense of wonder, interest, and fun that brings people into anthropology has not been lost. People in the program make life-long friends who have shared the unique experience of learning about anthropology in a setting of unique importance for anthropology, the natural laboratory of Hawai‘i.