diggingAnthropology 219:A1

World Prehistory

Next in Fall 2012

MWF 12:00 - 12:50

Note for FALL 2011 and later: for students enrolled in this class, go to E-class for the detailed description and documents for this course. Use this web page for links to other web sites.


trowelCourse description

This course explores the long-term biological and cultural history of humans from a global perspective as understood from the fossil and archaeological record. It begins nearly 5 million years ago with the earliest hominin (or human) ancestors in Africa.  Then it deals with the Palaeolithic and the origins and early evolution of culture during the Pliocene and Pleistocene.  The end of the Pleistocene or ice ages sees the origins of food production and the development of pastoralism and/or agriculture in different regions of the world.  The course then deals with the emergence of the world's earliest cities and state-level societies, including their use of monumental architecture, divine rule, and various forms of social control.  The course is intended for those with no background in archaeology and is designed to be partially a narrative of human history as well as a brief review of some of the key techniques and theories of the discipline.  This course has no prerequisite.


Course outline.


Required text

Robert Wenke and Deborah Olszewski, Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind's First Thre million years. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 5th edition.



Lecture notes




bovid skullRelated web sites


Ian Hodder's field research at Catal Huyuk, a Neolithic site in Turkey.

A brief history of archaeology. By John W. Hoopes.

Archaeologist leaves an imprint on his field - without research. Article about Brian Fagan by M. Balter. Science 305(5690): 1555, September 9, 2004.

Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology. Part of the Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN) for higher education in the United Kingdom.

Anthropology in the news. Good site for news stories about all kinds of anthropology.

The Archaeology Channel. Online videos and more.

Archaeology on the Net.

Prehistoric archaeology of the Aegean.

Who owns the past? Discussion about Kennewick man and the history of race in North American anthropology. From PBS.

Channel 4 (UK). Great Excavations. Companion site to John Romer's television series about the history of archaeology. Includes (1) "Stones and bones" about Mary Leakey and human origins research in Africa, (2) "Treasure seekers" about the history of grave robbing and ransacking in the 16th and 17th centuries; (3) "One beginning?" about the origin of civilization, (4) "Digging by the book" discussing the archaeological evidence for Homer's Illiad and Odyssey as well as the Bible, (5) "State servants", how the state has used archaeology, and (6) "New pasts", about processual archaeology and later developments.

Forensic archaeology by Benjamin Neil.

How much do you know about archaeology? at HistoryTelevision.ca.

Theory.org.uk. A new tack on theory in social science. Check out the theory trading cards and theorist action figures.


explorerArchaeological and related associations

American Anthropological Association website.

Archaeological Institute of America. Publishers of Archaeology Magazine.

Association for Environmental Archaeology (AEA).

Association of Archaeological Illustrators and Surveyors. British group for the encouragement of methods and techniques for the visual presentation of archaeological data.

Association of Historical Archaeologists of the Pacific Northwest.

Canadian Archaeological Association.

Canadian Association of Professional Heritage Consultants.

ChacmoolChacmool. University of Calgary Archaeological Association. The students of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Calgary run the Chacmool Archaeology Conference every November.

Deutsches Archaologisches Institut (German Archaeological Institute).

English Heritage.

European Association of Archaeologists.

Institute of Field Archaeologists. British organization of archaeologists.

Society for American Archaeology

Society of Antiquaries of London. Since 1734.

Society for Historical Archaeology.

TAG = Theoretical Archaeology Group 2002 conference information (Manchester, UK)..

US National Park Service journal "Cultural Resource Management".

US Organizations and State Historical Preservation Offices (SHPO).


shovelEmployment information for archaeologists


British Archaeological Jobs Resource Web page.. Also comes with on-line games.







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