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The Prehistory of Humans: A Social and Cultural Evolution

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
July 27, 2015 - July 31, 20151M-F 12:15-3:05POpenClive Vella10536

Course Description

The overarching theme of this course is meant to supply students with an ample understanding of our human antiquity. Therefore, in this course we will use archaeology as a means to comprehend our earliest origins and our unique evolution. This course should be of particular interest to students interested in archaeology, but also the humanities in general.

The main focus in this course is the prehistory of humans or the prehistory of "us". In our contemporary society we are finding that study of our past can provide us with useful insights into our future. Well, how about if we went even further back in time? What can we learn about who we were?

Therefore, a core topic during this course will be human evolution. However, we will not simply deal with physical evolution but also social and cultural evolution. In particular, how did human culture come to be? How did we change from hunter-gatherers to farmers? So in this class we will go through our human past starting millions of years ago until the beginning of farming.

Since we will be dealing with prehistory, archaeology will be our methodological mainframe. Therefore, as part of this class, students will also be provided with a background of archaeological methods and reasoning.

This course will provide students with a comprehensive overview of human prehistory and prepare them for future coursework in archaeology and other related fields.

It is expected that students will successfully complete the following learning goals:

- Gain a sense of our most ancient past and appreciate the significant evolutionary steps that our ancestors made in prehistory.

- Students will acquire a working knowledge of artifacts and contemporary views of human evolution

- Become exposed to a fast-paced sub-field of archaeology and aware of the importance of archaeology

There are no prerequisites for this course but it is expected that students have a general sense of human evolution. Otherwise, the course is gradual and coursework meant to help supplement everyone with an equal knowledge.