Anthropology | Human Origins and Prehistory
A105 | 1079 | Kaestle


For how long have people been scrambling about on this planet? How do
we know anything about ancient humans or human ancestors? What is
evolution anyway and how does it work? Anthropology A105 answers these
and other pesky questions about the world and the history of the human
species.

Anthropology is simply the study of people. This course introduces two
facets of anthropology: the study of human origins and ancient
cultures. We use the term paleoanthropology to refer to this field.
You will see how anthropologists look at human evolution, how fossil
hunters find evidence of it and how archaeologists research ancient
human societies. We’ll explore how they interpret the remains of
stuff, how they figure how old the stuff is, and how they apply their
interpretations to situations in the modern world. This course will
provide information about fundamental methods and techniques used in
biological anthropology and archaeology.

Course format includes Illustrated lectures, discussions,
demonstrations, videos, and labs. Class consists of 2 lectures per
week, plus a lab/discussion section, devoted primarily to hands-on
exercises, during which you will get to handle casts of old bones,
look at stone tools, and explore some of the regions and topics
with which I and other faculty are most familiar, including stone tool
production and function, animals in the archaeological record, genetic
evidence for the peopling of the world, and other stimulating topics.
Course readings will be drawn from a textbook as well as short
supplementary readings that will be available for download from
Oncourse. There will be three exams (70% of course grade), five short
exercises (20% of course grade), and two group projects (10% of course
grade).