P314: Early Prehistory of Africa Fall 2000

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Essay 2: Comparing Early Stone Age Lifestyles

This essay is due on Tuesday, November 7. (New deadline a little later than the original syllabus, which was Thursday Nov 2).

Homo erectus first appears in Africa over 1.8 million years ago, and seems to evolve into larger-brained, but robust species of "archaic" Homo that continues to thrive on the continent until at least 300,000 years ago, and perhaps longer.

Archaeologists debate the extent to which the behavior patterns of Homo changed significantly during this period. How does the archaeological record contribute to our understanding of the abilities of different populations of Homo to survive during this long period of the human past?

Describe what you see as the most important ecological, socio-cultural and intellectual behavioral adaptations of Homo during this period, and give specific examples from different sites of the types of evidence that allow archaeologists to diagnose these patterns of behavior.

One way to approach this question would be to use details from a different "case study" site from each time period to illustrate the similarities and differences you see through time. Alternatively, you could organize your essay by behavioral topic, and use specific types of evidence from a wider variety of sites to make your point. However you decide to organize your answer, be sure to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses specific patterns of evidence from specific sites.

Remember to use and integrate evidence and perspectives from as many of the required readings for this class as possible, to demonstrate your understanding of this material.

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

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Last updated: 15 October, 2000
URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~origins/teach/p314/P31498assign.html
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