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.
Open to Degree and CDE students
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? The course is not delivered synchronously but is rather organized into modules that are completed on a weekly basis without 'live' meetings. The course is largely self-paced with strict expectations and deadlines for participation in the discussion board.
There are no required textbooks for this course. Your entire course readings are articles in pdf format posted on Blackboard in topic modules. The videos and audio segments require various formats, most of which can be recognized on PCs using Windows Media Viewer and on Macs using QuickTime. Be aware that you may need to install other software or add-ons as required by the links that you visit for this course. You’ll need a stable, relatively high-speed internet connection to complete this course.
The first part of your grade is based on quizzes on course content; questions will be based on major topics covered in that week’s learning module. The second and primary part of your grade is based on participation in the discussion board using an external website called Yellowdig. The third part of your grade is based on one writing assignment.
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