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    Vassar College
  Dec 15, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ANTH 231 - Topics in Archaeology

Semester Offered: Fall and Spring
1 unit(s)

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 will be explored.  April Beisaw.

No prerequisites.

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.

Prerequisite: ANTH 100  or ANTH 235 .

Two 75-minute periods.

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