Anthropology | PREHISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH AMERICA
P365 | 0446 | Scheiber


Course Description:
This course is designed to provide an overview of the diverse paths of
prehistory and history in Western North America. For more than 10,000
years in Native North America, hundreds of unique cultural groups
flourished, from the shores of the Atlantic to the shores of the Pacific,
and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Circle. Although this course
will emphasize the regions that are west of the Mississippi River and
north of Mexico, we will also "cross the borders" to consider neighboring
regions.  The first half of the course will be devoted to exploring the
archaeological evidence from several different regions, including the
Midcontinent, the Plains and Great Basin, the Southwest, and the West
Coast.  Regional chronologies are best understood by focusing on the
methods and theories that archaeologists use to reconstruct cultural
lifeways and to assess culture change in those areas.   During the second
half of the course, we will address current and relevant issues for the
archaeology of Western North America including the peopling of the New
World, hunter-gatherer research, origins of agriculture, origins of
sociopolitical complexity and inequality, trade and exchange,
post-colonial culture contact and multi-ethnic communities, and
archaeological ethics.

This class is not meant to provide students with a "laundry list" of
names, places, and dates.  We will spend some time learning about the
people, material culture, and geography of Western North America.
However, we will then build on that knowledge to address specific
questions relating to long-term research about the past and discuss ways
that these questions are relevant for us today in the present.  What you
will gain is an appreciation for the diversity of ideas and opinions about
the archaeological record, as well as the people who created it.  You will
learn about the major controversies and debates surrounding this research.
And you will have the opportunity to critically evaluate the evidence for
yourselves.

Course Evaluation:
You will be evaluated based on the following assignments and exams:
Midterm exam = 100 points
Final exam (cumulative) = 100 points
5 Geography Quizzes (20 points each) = 100 points
5 Written Assessments of Case Studies (max 2-3 pages) (20 points each) =
100 points
TOTAL = 400 points