Anthropology | Intro to Prehistoric Archaeology
P200 | 0510 | Munson
The focus of the course will be anthropological archaeology, and the
course will serve as an introduction to this subdiscipline. The course is
organized into three sections, roughly equal in length, and students will
be examined on each section.
The first section (Part I) is an introduction to the subdiscipline and
will cover such fundamentals as the definition of archaeology and
anthropological archaeology, the similarities and differences between
anthropological archaeology and other varieties of archaeology, a brief
history of the development of archaeology as a scientific and academic
field, the nature of the archaeological data base, dating techniques used
to recover archaeological data, and classification schemes that are used
to both organize and interpret the recovered data, plus a brief
consideration of the pre-human fossil record and the first "glimmerings"
of cultural behavior (as opposed to purely biologically controlled
behavior and characteristics) in Africa some two to three million years
ago the (Oldowan Industry or early Lower Paleolithic).
Parts II and III will be a survey of world prehistory, which is
essentially the broad outlines of what we know (based on archaeological
investigations to date) about human behavior in the prehistoric past and
how (and why) these patterns of behavior changed, both through time and
within different environmental situations. The emphasis will be on the
interaction of technological developments and environmental potentials and
constraints, and how and why the technological developments and cultural
"choices" to use (or not use) them shaped cultural developments through
Part II (Lower, Middle and Upper Paleolithic) will begin with the initial
expansion of culture-bearing humans or protohumans out of Africa into
Europe and Asia (Developed Oldowan and early Chopper-Chopping Tool
traditions), the development of the Achuelian Industry (late Lower
Paleolithic), the emergence of the Mousterian and contemporary traditions
(Middle Paleolithic), and Upper Paleolithic, and will conclude with the
initial peopling of Australia and the Americas.
Part III will cover the last 10,000-12,000 years or so of prehistory in
both the Old World and New World, beginning with the emergence of
hunter-gatherer-fisher subsistence systems ("Mesolithic" of the Old World,
Archaic Stage of the New) and continuing through the emergence and
development of food-producing (cultivation, herding) patterns and the
earliest civilizations (urbanism, complex political systems).