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ARCHY 325 A: Archaeology of Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Meeting Time: 
MW 10:30am - 12:20pm
BRK 007
Joint Sections: 
Peter V. Lape
Peter V. Lape

Syllabus Description:

Banda shot.jpg

Winter 2024

What is this class about?
When and how did people first get to the islands of the Pacific? What was life like once they arrived? This course encompasses the history of the human occupation of the tropical Pacific islands, especially Island Southeast Asia (ISEA), and Oceania. This is a huge area covering nearly 1/3 of the earth's surface, with a fascinating and varied human history. Modern humans first appear in this region over 40,000 (and probably 65,000) years ago and there is evidence for other hominim species even earlier. Other parts of the region were some of the last places on earth to be discovered and occupied by humans. We will focus on the current debates about island biogeography, human migrations, long distance maritime trade, political structures, culture contact and colonialism, with an emphasis on the analysis of the primary archaeological and documentary data. 

Where is our classroom?
We meet in the classroom in the lower lobby of the Burke Museum. Enter the Museum through the main doors by Off the Rez Cafe, and head down the stairs under the Baird's Beaked Whale skeleton. All UW students have free entry to the Burke with your Husky Card, so feel free to check out the museum (show your Husky Card to the front desk folks).

NOTE: The Burke Museum is closed on Mondays, so I will let you in via the lower lobby doors at 10:30 for Monday classes.

Meet your instructor, Peter Lape
I am an archaeologist, professor in the Department of Anthropology and Curator of Archaeology at the Burke Museum. My research is focused on Island Southeast Asia, where I am currently exploring trade and human responses to climate change from 4,000 to 500 years ago on small tropical islands in eastern Indonesia. I am obsessed with small tropical islands, sailing voyages, and the food, traditional boats and music of Indonesia.

 What can you learn in this class?

  • Figure out the strange and wonderful way anthropologists and archaeologists see the world around them.
  • Understand the geography and chronology of the human occupation of the tropical Pacific island region as known from current archaeological data, as well as from genetic, linguistic and documentary evidence.
  • Examine the limits of that data, current questions and debates in the archaeology of the region in the context of the history of social and political factors that have shaped those debates.
  • Develop analytical reading, writing and public speaking skills.

What are the assignments and how are grades calculated?
This is a discussion-oriented course with minimal instructor lectures. For this to work, we all need to do the assigned reading on time and be prepared to participate in enthusiastic talking and questioning when we meet as a group. I find grading to be a deeply unpleasant task, and I wish we could all just enjoy our time together learning new things. But UW doesn't work that way, so here is how I will figure out what grade to give you at the end of the quarter:

  •     10% class participation during class meetings
  •     5% 1:1 meetings with me
  •     20% discussion board reading responses
  •     10% map quiz
  •     10% island report
  •     20% public article paper (including peer review of other's papers)
  •     25% grant proposal paper (including peer review of other's papers)

Note: There will likely be changes to the syllabus over the course of the quarter, so check this Canvas site frequently. However, criteria and due dates for major assignments will not change.

ARCHY 525 requirements:

  • Complete all assignments listed above except the grant proposal paper (individual final project will replace that assignment)
  • Meet for one additional hour per week (time/place tbd)

How to contact me outside of class meeting times:
Feel free to use the Canvas message system or email. Please start your message with a polite greeting and use a helpful subject heading. Also, please be nice, spell things correctly, and use complete sentences. I will answer your message as soon as I can within normal business hours.

I like to meet with students, and you will earn 5 points for meeting with me! Feel free to drop by my weekly office hours on Wednesdays 1:30-2:30 pm in Denny 129, or check with me to set up a meeting at a time convenient to you via zoom or in-person.

What are the rules and policies?

  • If you are feeling ill, do not come to class. Get in touch with me and we'll figure out ways you can keep up with the class.
  • Late submissions will not be accepted unless you make alternate arrangements prior to the due date. Get those assignments in on time or accept the consequences.
  • I welcome ongoing feedback about the class. Please feel free to send  suggestions for improvement at any time during the quarter.
  • You are expected to produce your own work in this class. Plagiarism or any other form of cheating will not be tolerated. There won't really be any good opportunities to cheat, actually. All students are expected to uphold the University of Washington standard of student conduct.
  • We are committed to meeting the needs of all class participants. The Disabled Student Services (DSS) Office coordinates academic accommodations for enrolled students, University staff, and academic personnel with documented disabilities. We are happy to discuss ways of expanding access to this class that are not only mandated by law.
  • College can be a difficult time. The UW has comprehensive Counseling and Mental Health Services, including individual and group counseling as well as 24/7 counseling and crisis support through My SSP.
  • Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form.


Catalog Description: 
History of the human occupation of the South Pacific Islands, especially Indonesia, Philippines, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Focus on current debates about human migrations, long distance maritime trade, political structures, culture contact, and colonialism. Emphasis on the analysis of the primary archaeological and documentary data. Prerequisite: ARCHY 205.
Department Requirements: 
Anthropology of Globalization Option
Archaeological Sciences Option
GE Requirements: 
Social Sciences (SSc)
Last updated: 
December 4, 2023 - 8:54pm