COLL-E 104 14273 Lost Tribes and Sunken Continents (Pyburn) (S & H) (3 cr.)


This is a class about why people are interested in the mysteries of the past and how much confusion can be traced to intellectual misunderstandings about the nature of science. During the semester, several of the most intriguing ideas and questions about the behavior and experience of ancient humans will be discussed, including the origin of the Moundbuilders, the story of Atlantis, ancient contacts with extraterrestrials, the fates of the Easter Islanders and the Maya, lost cities of the Inca, and the shroud of Turin.

The point of covering this popular and sensational material is threefold:

1. Students will be introduced to the methods of science. Most students have limited or inaccurate ideas about the goals and possibilities of science that impede their ability to evaluate information.

2. Critical skills will be enhanced that will be useful to the student in everyday life.

3. Besides exposure to the scientific approach, students will learn to take an anthropological approach to identifying the cultural values promoted by particular claims about the human past.

Nothing is more inspiring than the real story of human experience in the most distant reaches of time, and nothing is more thrilling than scientific discovery. Students will read about some of the most exciting current research in archaeology to develop an enlightened perspective on the importance of scientific research to life in the modern world. In this class students will focus on the basic principles of anthropology and the methodology of scientific archaeology.