ANTH 231 - Topics in Archaeology
Semester Offered: Fall and Spring
An examination of topics of interest in current archaeological analysis. We examine the anthropological reasons for such analyses, how analysis proceeds, what has been discovered to date through such analyses, and what the future of the topic seems to be. Possible topics include tools and human behavior, lithic technology, the archaeology of death, prehistoric settlement systems, origins of material culture.
May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.
Topic for 2017/18a: Maps, Culture, and Archaeology. Maps are used to document relationships between peoples, places, and the spaces in between. This course examines both the practical and hegemonic uses of maps while providing students with hands-on experiences creating maps from archaeological and historical data. The central case study focuses on the megalithic monument of Stonehenge. This site seems quite mysterious when considered alone, but when it is placed within the landscapes of its past, the meaning(s) and purpose(s) become clearer. Stonehenge’s landscape is as important as the stone circle at its center. This has implications for the rights of local landowners, the obligations of heritage management and tourism, and the patrimony of cultures who consider Stonehenge as a sacred site. Additional case studies are explored. April Beisaw.
Topic for 2017/18b: Archaeological Lab Methods. Archaeological practice is about documenting material remains across space and time. Much of this work takes places in the laboratory, not in the field. Objects need to be counted, weighed, and described, then researched to understand when, where, and how they were manufactured, where else they have been used or found, and what they mean given the context of this site in particular and the other artifacts, ecofacts, and features they were found among. This project-based course provides students with hands-on experience analyzing artifacts, creating site distribution maps, and reaching data-driven conclusions. We analyze the data contained in other site reports and write our own site reports. April Beisaw.
Topic for 2017/18b: People in a New World. (Same as STS 231 ) Approximately 15,000 years ago, according to current scientific thought, humans expanded into the last large landmass left in the world without human inhabitants: The Americas. Who were these people? How did they get here and from where? What were the environmental and ecological conditions they faced, and how did they overcome them? What technologies did they bring with them, and what new technologies did they create in order to colonize these continents? This course examines the history of studies of the earliest Americans, what theories emerged about their origins over time, which have been discarded, and which still exist and compete with one another. Our current sources of information about the earliest immigrants – archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistics, ecology, genetics, geology, geophysics, chemistry among them – are examined to consider what leads they can produce and how they must be evaluated in coming to conclusions about what happened in the Americas 20-10,000 years ago. Lucy Johnson.
Prerequisite(s): ANTH 100 or ANTH 235 .
Two 75-minute periods.
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