ARCHY 105: The Human Past
Instructor: Ben Fitzhugh.
Important: Due to limited classroom availability, the lecture portion of the class (Archy 105A) will meet in TWO locations every week, as follows:
--- MWF 1030-1120 in FSH 102 (Fisheries)
--- Th 1030-1120 ECE 125 (Electrical Engineering)
--Students in Archy 105 must also register for a QZ section of ARCHY 105 (AA, AB, AC, AD, AE, or AF), scheduled for Friday afternoons, in the Communications Building (CMU).
Archy 105 examines the history of the world and the bewildering diversity of cultural practices through the lens of archaeology. Students will learn about the latest developments on the oldest human technologies; ponder the question of Neanderthal use of fire and language; examine the most enduring economic systems and ask why some societies invented agriculture and others did not. We will examine architectural marvels and artistic novelties and ask what they can tell us about politics, economics and the construction of cultural diversity and meaning. In the process we will examine how archaeologists study the human past.
Students can expect a fast-paced class, a mix of lectures and activities, readings and movies to introduce topics from a range of perspectives and approaches. Readings will be drawn from a combination of popular and modestly technical sources. Weekly quizzes will help students keep up with the content and provided "low stakes" grading. A midterm and final exam will be used to help you synthesize your learning.
Details of the course, including reading assignments and the midterm schedule, will be posted later this summer.
Course Outcomes: For most students, this will be the first class in Archaeology you have taken. As a result, by the end of the class, you can expect to be able to:
- Follow key debates and developments in human evolution and social/cultural change from the first tool using hominins to the archaeology of the contemporary past.
- Understand the strengths and limits of archaeological data, methods and concepts for exploring and accounting for these changes.
- Question the assumptions and examine the biases of archaeological interpretations by both professional and avocational archaeologists and enthusiasts.