Anthropological Sciences 333

ANSC 333: World Prehistory

Prerequisites: ANSC 301 and ANSC 201, or ANTH 122, or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

A survey of the world’s prehistoric cultures, from the earliest human cultures to the beginning of complex civilizations. The focus is on humans’ adaptation to their environment through culture and the changes in these adaptations over time.

Note(s): Students cannot receive credit for both ANTH 332 and ANSC 333.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

This class will be organized first by major geographical areas: Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, North America, Central America, South America. Within these major divisions, important temporal and cultural changes will be examined as subtopics. For example, the discussion of the prehistory of North America will include the subtopics of the first arrival of humans into the continent, the origins of agriculture, and the development of complex political organizations. There will be three basic questions addressed for each geographical region:

(1) what was life like for the earliest (hunting-gathering) cultures?
(2) when, why and how did agriculture and settled village life originate?
(3) when and why did sociopolitically complex societies develop?

Detailed Description of Conduct of the Course

The course will primarily rely on a lecture format; however, there will be extensive use of films and slides as well. Detailed case-studies of research at specific archaeological sites will also be used. In addition to examinations, students will participate in in-class writing exercises, conduct a research project on a selected region and time period, and present a brief oral summary of their research to the entire class. Computer-assisted data searches (through the Internet, for example) will be stressed, as well as more traditional research methods.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Upon completion of this course, a student should be able to:

1) understand the major trends in prehistoric cultural change in major geographic regions of the world and some reasons for these changes;
2) recognize the names of major archaeologists who have worked in these regions and some of the most significant archaeological sites;
3) know or know where to locate the major reference materials pertaining to the archaeology of the regions examined
4) express in both written and oral form some of the above information they have learned.

Assessment Measures

Assessment of student outcomes will be based on three written (essay) examinations, the completion of weekly in-class writing assignments pertaining to the assigned readings and discussion topics, and the preparation of a written research paper. This will therefore be a writing-intensive course, utilizing both in and out of class writing exercises. In addition, the students will be required to prepare ten-minute oral summaries of their research to be presented to the class.

Other Course Information

Supplemental readings from current anthropology and archaeology journals will be used to enhance the information in the text and will be placed on reserve in the library.

Review and Approval

September, 2001

December, 2009