P314: Early Prehistory of Africa Fall 2000

Essay 1: Cultural Animals?

This essay will be worth 15% of your course grade. (Limit: ~5 typed pages, double-spaced)

It is due on Tuesday, October 10. (New deadline a little later than the original syllabus, which was Oct 5).

As modern humans we are so dependent on technology that it is difficult to imagine life without our tools and other forms of material culture. In fact, a few decades ago, when anthropologists were trying to define quintessential characteristics of human nature, one of the definitions of "human" was "man the toolmaker."

Since then, field research has revealed the complexity of the tool making and using habits of our close relatives, the chimpanzees. Hominids last shared a common ancestor with chimps about 5 million years ago and so chimps provide an interesting frame of reference (a non-human perspective) from which to interpret archaeological evidence for early hominid tool-making and using.

Imagine, if you were a chimp, what Oldowan technology and the evidence at Oldowan sites in eastern and southern Africa might look like from your perspective. Write an essay that addresses the following questions:

NOTE: It is very important to include specific references to the sources of information you use in your essay, whether from the readings, websites, CD-ROM, etc, be sure to cite them "early and often." Demonstrate, in your essay, your ability to compare and integrate information from these different sources, and include references to as many of the assigned readings as you can, to show your mastery of the relevant information needed to address this question. However, to show your understanding of the material, it is best to paraphrase (and cite) the sources in your own words, not to quote them.

Human Origins in Africa | African Resources | Archaeology Links |
Sept teaching interests | IU Anthropology
Sept research | Sept Home Page

Last updated: 15 September, 2000
URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~origins/teach/p314/P31498assign.html
Comments: sept@indiana.edu
Copyright Jeanne Sept 1998 : do not cite without permission

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