Examination of the origins and development of culture from the earliest human fossils through the appearance of civilization; the nature of archaeological data and interpretations.
Dates: July 13 - August 7, 2020
Anth 24 D2/SU Prehistoric Archaeology Archaeology is the study of the ancient past through the material record of human behavior. One-third of the course discusses the field of archaeology as a sub-discipline of anthropology, exploring method and theory, the purpose of the discipline, preservation and stewardship, materiality, and issues relating to ownership of the past. The subsequent two-thirds of the course explores our deep prehistoric past, highlighting the major cultures and civilizations of the ancient world through select case-studies. The survey begins at the dawn of human culture over one million years ago. By the end of the course you should be able to define or describe: the goals of the discipline and its major “sub-fields”; the basic methods and theories of archaeological research; the complex ways that material culture articulates behavior and social action; the role of archaeology in the preservation and stewardship of cultural resources; and the major ancient cultures and events of human prehistory.
The course also fulfills the UVM sustainability requirement. Using readings, media, and online discussions, we will examine the ways that societies sustained themselves during periods of disruption and consider how the concept of cultural “resilience” is explored as a theme in recent archaeological research. The primary goal is to expand your awareness of the multiplicity of cultural practices in ancient societies that can inform modern discussions of sustainability. Put simply, can the ancient past inform the future?
There are no required textbooks for this course. The course grade is based on discussion board participation, quizzes, and written assignments.
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