P200 Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology

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Class meetings will have a variety of formats -- many periods will include lecture presentations with slides, or video clips, and small group discussions. We will also meet occasionally in computer labs or different locations on campus, and have different "hands on" activities for class credit. Outlines of the class topics will be posted on the class web page, to help you review and compare to your own notes; the objective is to provide a framework to help you learn to take more effective class notes for yourself.

In our class, the Stone Age will meet the "Information Age." We will be using computers as tools to aid your exploration of the past, and the use of the WWW will be an essential element of our coursework. In class, we will meet periodically in one of the PC clusters on campus. One objective of our class is to increase your confidence and skill in using computers as tools for research and scholarship (e.g., library searches, WWW, CD-ROM, word-processing, etc.). But we will also try to demonstrate how computers can be "cool tools" to help archaeologists document and visualize ancient times and places.

Since a key to effective archaeological research is teamwork, one objective of our class is to help you work with others to learn to solve archaeological problems. We will sometimes ask you to work together in study groups on in-class projects, with the hope that getting to know other students in the class and sharing ideas will make the class more accessible and interesting for you.


The course will use two textbooks:

Images of the Past, by T.D. Price and G.M. Feinman (2nd ed), is a well-illustrated book that focuses on information recovered from key archaeological sites as "signposts" for interpreting prehistory. This will be available for purchase, or reserve reading in the Undergraduate Library.

Annual Editions: Archaeology 00/01, L. Hasten (ed), is a compilation of a number of short articles about different topics in archaeology. We will be reading a selection of these.

For some class activities or course assignments you will also be asked to consult WWW materials .

One option for the first project assignment will be to use a CD-ROM called Investigating Olduvai which can be purchased, or borrowed overnight from Media Reserves (two copies available, cross-listed under our class in the UGL Reserve Reading).

Grading System

We will have no in-class exams. Instead, you will be responsible for taking weekly quizzes online (from the web page), participating in class exercises (which will contribute to your quiz score), writing a series of take-home essays and doing two projects.

Quizzes: 20% of course grade
You will have weekly quizzes on the basic facts of the assigned readings and lecture materials that you can take online from the class website. These quizzes will be "open book" and will be designed to encourage you to keep up with the readings. A new quiz will be posted every Thursday, and will be available for one week (through the following Wednesday at midnight.) Also, we will have various activities in class, and your work on these exercises will contribute towards your quiz score. Credit for missed activities can only be made up with a medical excuse, or advance permission of the instructor.

Essays: 40% of course grade
We will give you 5 written essay assignments during the semester, each worth 10% of your course grade. Your grade will be based on the best 4 out of the 5 scores. (e.g.,if you get great grades on the first four essay assignments, there is no need for you to do the fifth, which will be a take-home final exam.) These essay questions will ask you to integrate information from your readings, class presentations, and internet sources.

Projects: 40% of course grade
You will have two written projects, each worth 20% of your course grade.

    The first of these projects will ask you to interpret a real archaeological data set. One option for this assignment will be to use the Investigating Olduvai CD-ROM as the source of the data.

    The second project will be an "action archaeology" assignment that asks you to do some research in Bloomington, with the eyes of an archaeologist. This project will encourage you to work in teams.

Late assignments will not be accepted without (1) advance notice and (2) a valid written medical or personal emergency excuse.

And, please, please, please, make backup copies of your computer files and/or keep a xerox of every assignment you turn in, just in case.

Learning to express your ideas effectively in writing is an important part of undergraduate education. Archaeology is a social science that emphasizes the careful use of specific evidence to support interpretive arguments, and we will be evaluating your written work in these terms. Our assignments will be designed to put your archaeological knowledge into practice… e.g., to apply what you have learned to solve an archaeological problem, or interpret a set of archaeological data. Each project will require you to analyze some data and summarize your ideas in an essay ~5-7 pages long. We encourage you to work with other students to analyze and interpret data for the projects. However, we expect you to turn in original written work as the basis for your own grade. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. (Please refer to the IU Student Code of Ethics.) If you are not familiar with standards of plagiarism, please refer to the examples described by the IU Writing Tutorial Service (linked from webpage).

Professor Jeanne Sept

Office: Student Building 038

Office Hours: TW 4:00-5:00 or by appt.

855-5395; sept@indiana.edu

AI: Emily Williams

Office: Student Bldg 056

Office Hours: M 4:00-5:30; T 11:00-12:00


 Lectures: MW 2:30-3:45pm

Student Building 150

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Last updated: 10 January, 2000
URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~origins/teach/p200/p200syl.html
Comments: sept@indiana.edu

Copyright Jeanne Sept 1998 : do not cite without permission