Syllabus, Anthropology 330
Origins of Culture & Civilization
Fall Semester 2001
College 220, MWF 12:10
Professor: T. A. Kohler
Office: College Hall 394/396
Office Hours: M, Th 8-9:30 AM (or by appointment)
Phone: 335-2698; e-mail

I. Objectives

To explore cultural evolution and diversity from the origins of the earliest hominids to the beginnings of state societies in the Old World, covering a time span of some 4 million years. To examine the relationships between biological change and cultural evolution and between environment and society. Emphasis will be placed on-

the archaeology of the first hominids;
the problem of the evolution of human cooperation;
the in-creas-ing use of symbols in human communication in Upper Paleolithic art and in the appearance of writing;
the rise and spread of the agricultural way of life and the formation of villages and towns; and
the appearance and spread of "complex," state-level societies.

This course is designed to serve both majors in anthropology (typically 30-40% of the class), and as a Tier II S GER. There are also always a few students simply taking the course out of personal interest, and they are most welcome. Three hours of Anthropology is a prerequisite, with the most useful prior courses being Anth 101, 230, 260, 370, or 430. If you have not had any prior Anthropology, you can stay in the class, but you should expect to spend more time with chapters 1 & 2 of the text than most students will need.


II. Format

Class will meet M, W, & F at 12:10 for 50 minutes. Each session will con-sist of some lecture and some discussion; be prepared to discuss the lecture materials and readings in class! Don't do the assigned readings before the lectures unless you want to do well in class. Videos are shown fairly regularly and are an important part of the curriculum; they are also available from Media Materials in the ground floor of "New" Library. You should arrange your own viewing of any you miss in class.

III. Evaluation

Grades will be based on four short readings quizzes (there will be no makeups but the worst quiz score will be thrown out at the end of the semester); one midterm slightly more than half-way through the class; performance in discussion; and one paper (in lieu of a final exam). The test incorporates an essay component. The weight of each component will be roughly as follows: reading quizzes (3 x 20 points); test (70 points); daily performance in class 20 points; and paper (40 points), for a total of ap-proximately 190 points. Detailed guidelines for the paper are below. In overview, I'll be expecting a 6-8-page typed/word-processed paper on a topic comparing processes in the rise of civilization in Southwest Asia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley.

Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have a documented disability. Please notify me during the first week of class of any accommodations needed for the course. Late notification may cause the requested accommodations to be unavailable. All accommodations must be approved through the Disability Resource Center, 335-1566.

IV. Readings (in Bookie)

Wenke, Robert J.
1999 Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind's First Three Million Years (4th edition). Oxford University Press (required).

There are also four required readings drawn from recent issues of journals on reserve in "New" Library, as noted below. Those not from Scientific American are also available as "e-reserves" by working through Griffin.

V. Schedule

1. Aug. 27, 29, & 31: class organization and scope; approaches to prehistory (the development of ar-chaeology); the realization of human antiquity; dating techniques; climatic background to the PlioPleistocene. Readings: Wenke Chapters 1 & 2. You can skim Chapter 1 if you've had ANTH 430. You can skim Chapter 2 if you've had ANTH 230 (here's a good on-line resource for basic archaeological terminology and other useful references.) Otherwise, read both. Also, on reserve in New Library: "Greenland Ice Cores: Frozen in Time" (from Scientific American Feb. 1998). NASA maintains the authoritative website on paleoclimates; it's for researchers but it's interesting to see what's out there.

2. Sept. 5 & 7 (no class Sept. 3): Hominids, hominoids, hunters, scavengers. Climatic background, continued. Our earliest ancestors. Readings: Wenke Chapter 3. Video: History of the Anthropoid: The Search for the Beginning (VHS 18235), Friday. If you get confused about all the different hominid taxa you might want to spend some time here, which also provides excellent reference material for much of the first third of the course.

3. Sept. 10, 12, & 14: Our earliest ancestors, concluded. What is culture? When does it appear? Readings: "Once We Were Not Alone" (by Ian Tattersall, from Scientific American January 2000, on reserve in New). Video: Origins of Homo sapiens: East African Roots (first two-thirds) (VHS 18234) Friday. First reading quiz Friday (after video).

4. Sept. 17, 19, & 21: Into the last 100,000 years; the Middle Paleolithic and the appearance of anatomically modern humans. Readings: Wenke Chapter 4 up to p. 179. Video: Fate of Neanderthal Man: the Mammoth Hunters (VHS 19281 v. 1), Friday.

5. Sept. 24, 26, & 28: More on the transition; discussion of possible mechanisms promoting/enforcing human cooperation. You can download a PowerPoint version of a paper I recently delivered on the prehistory of human cooperation here; I will explain more about this in class. Readings: Paul Bingham, 2000, "Human Evolution and Human History: A Complete Theory" in Evolutionary Anthropology, 9(6):248-257. Video: Fate of the Neanderthal: the Death of Neanderthal Man, Friday (VHS 19281 v. 2). Also see this external link.

6. Oct. 1, 3, & 5: Language and the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. The Upper Paleolithic: introduction. Readings: complete Wenke Chapter 4. Second reading quiz Friday.

7. Oct. 8, 10, & 12: Upper Paleolithic roots of art and religion. Video: Cave Beneath the Sea (VHS 16588), Friday. A very nice general discussion of archaeological and ethnographic approaches to rock art is maintained at the University of New England in Australia.

8. Oct. 15, 17, & 19: The Age of Hunting comes to an end. Terminal Pleistocene extinctions. Transitions: The Mesolithic and Epipaleolithic. The beginnings of domestication. Video: Settling Down (Making of Mankind series) (VHS 16291) first third Monday, second third Wednesday.

9. Oct. 22, 24, & 26: The inception of the Neolithic; the spread of the Neolithic into Europe. Readings: Wenke Chapter 6 (skip pp. 306-315 ) & Wenke pp. 536-548. See data and results from current excavations at Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Third reading quiz Friday.

10. Oct. 29 & 31 & Nov. 2: Spread of agriculture into Europe (concluded); and the "Megalithic Phenomenon." Brief survey of the Neolithic of Africa, Asia, China, and India. Readings: Wenke pp. 443-445, 488-490, 517-520, & 548-556. Video: Iceman, Wednesday or Friday. (See this external link for more about the "iceman.")

11. Nov. 5, 7, & 9: Rise of Civilization, overview. Readings: Wenke Chapter 7. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago maintains a terrific website on the Ancient Near East called Abzu; it is primarily oriented towards scholars but has much of interest to students. Midterm Monday.

12. Nov. 14 & 16 (no class Nov. 12, Veteran's Day): Origins of Complex Societies in Southwest Asia. Readings: Wenke Chapter 8. Video: Legacy #1: Iraq: The Cradle of Civilization (VHS 14444) (Friday).

13. No class, Thanksgiving Holiday .

14. Nov. 26, 28, & 30: Southwest Asia, concluded. Film: The Royal Archives of Ebla, Friday. (Kohler at AAA meetings in Washington D.C. November 28 & 30, course covered by RA.)

15. Dec. 3, 5, & 7: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization. Readings: Wenke Chapter 9. Video: Champollion: Egyptian Hieroglyphics Deciphered (VHS 17124) (Friday). Fourth Reading Quiz Friday on all materials since midterm including Champollion video.

16. Dec. 10, 12, & 14: Indus Valley Civilization. Readings: Wenke Chapter 10 & "Birth of the Indus Civilization" (by J. M. Kenoyer, Archaeology January-February 1998, pp. 54-61, on reserve in Holland). Video: Pakistan: Mound of the Dead (VHS 17261) (Friday). See also this external link on the ancient Indus.

Paper due Monday Dec. 17, noon, in my office (or earlier!)

Paper guidelines:

I will want to revive a 6-8 page, typed/word-processed, double-spaced paper by noon December 17. The paper should have five main sections.

I. Introduction, in which you select one process (for example, warfare/punishment, trade, unifying force of religion, bureaucratic demands of water management, or something else sensible) and briefly discuss the history of use of this concept in anthropology/archaeology in explaining the rise of the state. The next three sections refer to the three main areas where we will discuss the rise of the state in class. In each of these three sections you should attempt to identify the role played, if any, by the process you chose in the area, using as references your text, plus any external references you wish. Papers that use only the text are unlikely to receive high marks.

II. Southwest Asia

III. Egypt

IV. Indus Valley

V. Conclusions. Give an overall appreciation of the importance of the factor you chose, as well as how it may interact with other factors, based on your review of these three areas.

VI. References Cited. You must explicitly cite any references you use. You must use the Style Guide for the journal American Antiquity to format your references. It is on line at: . For example, in the body of your paper you might write: "According to Wenke (1999:484) the Indus civilization..." and in your References Cited section you would have an entry such as the following:

Wenke, R.J.
1999 Patterns in Prehistory: Mankind's First Three Million Years. Oxford University Press, New York.

Quality of thought, research, and argument, and quality and clarity of expression are important factors in determining your grade. Plagiarism is unacceptable.