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The Prehistory of Humans: A Social and Cultural Evolution

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

The overarching theme of this course is to supply students with an ample understanding of our human antiquity; therefore, 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 and in the humanities in general.

The main focus of this course is the prehistory of humans or the prehistory of "us." In our contemporary society, we are finding that the 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 of our readings and discussions is human evolution. We will not simply deal with physical evolution but also with social and cultural evolution. In particular, how did human culture come to be? How did we change from hunter-gatherers to farmers? We will go through our human past starting millions of years ago until the beginning of farming.

Students will be provided with a background in archaeological methods and reasoning and will have daily reading and short writing assignments. This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of human prehistory and prepares them for future coursework in archaeology and other related fields.

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

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

  • 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. The course is gradual, and coursework is design to provide everyone with knowledge that will put them on equal footing.