Anthropology | Intro to Prehistoric Archaeology
P200 | 0430 | Sievert
Description: This introduction to archaeology will introduce you to the
cultural history of humankind as studied by archaeologists. Archaeologists
are famous for using other people's garbage as their main source of
information. So, this is a course about trash, and you will come to
appreciate the glories of trash. Starting with the first humans, we will
conduct a survey of remains left by people all over the world, from the
ancient Greeks to the Inka. Over the semester we will look at the simplest
stone tools to the most complex of stone pyramids. You will learn how
people came to develop such things as agriculture, writing, and
cemeteries. We will cover topics including food and eating, trade,
politics, religion, and of course, technology. You will learn something
about how archaeologists think about the world, about culture, and about
how they make their interpretations apply to the modern world.
Part 1. Principles of Archaeology How archaeologists gain information. The
first few weeks will cover the basics-what archaeologists care about, and
how they figure things out. Learn about sites, surveys, excavation and
Part 2. Stone and Bones: The Early Years. This section covers the
development of early human culture through the end of the Ice Ages about
10,000 years ago. Learn about some of the major sites, the people who used
them, and the archaeologists who study them. A beginning focus on Africa
broadens as people move into other areas in Europe and Asia. Study how
scavenging, hunting, and gathering lifestyles change through time. Examine
the technological changes that accompany the expansion of anatomically
modern humans about 50,000 years ago.
Part 3. Intensification and Increasing Complexity. This section introduces
the changes that result in agriculture in several areas of the world,
including Mesopotamia and the New World. Examine the changes that produce
complex political systems in Egypt, Mexico, Peru, and elsewhere. Learn
about the traces left by agricultural systems, by men and women going
about their daily lives, and by leaders who had tombs constructed for
Readings: Images of the Past. Edited by T. D. Price, and G. M. Feinman.
will be one required text.
Format: There will be lectures, discussions, lab exercises, slides, and
videos, and some internet work.
Evaluation: Your grade comes from performance on tests and projects. There
will be a test at the end of each section, and shorter quizzes during Part
2 and 3. Tests and quizzes will have a combination of multiple choice,
short answer, and essay questions and cover material from lectures,
discussions, films, readings, and anything else that we do in class. Test
scores combine for 50% of your grade.
Projects: You will do reaction papers (30% total) and a final project
(20%). For your project you will work with one other student. The project
will consist of putting together a brochure. Rather than write a term
paper, you will take information from your research on a specific topic
and create a brochure with pictures and text. The brochure provides a
creative way for you to present what you have learned about a specific
archaeological discovery, site, prehistoric culture or topic.