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Anthropology 307
World Archaeology: Foundations of Civilization

Spring, 2013
M-W 1:30 - 2:45pm, Sabin G90

I think its Indus Valley for 'Ayans go home!'

  Instructor: Bettina Arnold
Office Hours: Sabin 229, M 3:00-5:00pm, or by appointment x4583
Class e-mail reflector:

  Required Texts:  
  Christopher Scarre and Brian Fagan, 2007 (3rd ed.) Ancient Civilizations. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. UWM bookstore $111.00
Course Reader: Available on UWM Library e-Reserve (NOT on D2L!)
  Internet Sites  
  arrowExploring Ancient World Cultures   A great place for information on world civilizations
  arrowArchNet   One of the largest virtual libraries of archaeological information
  arrowArchaeological Resource Guide for Europe   Virtual library for European archaeology
  arrowWorld Atlas of Archaeology on the Web   Find information by geographical location

  Course Description:
About 10,000 years ago, human groups in several areas of the world began to undergo a series of major transformations. Small groups of hunters and gatherers settled into the world's first farming villages. From these villages arose larger settlements, and eventually complex urban civilizations like our own. How and why did these changes take place? Why did ancient civilizations evolve in repeated cycles of expansion and collapse? What do the similarities and differences in the development of early civilizations tell us about the nature of culture change, of civilization, power and the state, and of human society itself?

This course will review the origins of agriculture, urban life and state level societies. Theories, processes and the archaeological evidence for changes in human economic and social organization will be discussed. The essential relationship between economy, environment and society provides the subtext for the more detailed presentation of the case studies. Readings will emphasize the Old World, but New World developments will be included for comparison. The geographic areas in which primary states developed and have been intensively studied archaeologically are the Near East (Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley) and Mesoamerica. These regions will be the focus of the course, with some discussion of the emergence of state level societies in other areas (such as East Asia, Africa and South America). Comparing Old and New World cultural responses to different environmental and geographic contexts focuses attention on the way in which the evolution of social complexity occurs, rather than on the memorization of facts and dates alone. The course provides a context for understanding the process of cultural evolution in the past as well as in today's world by exploring why we are the way we are, and how we got here.

Course Format: The course will include a combination of lecture and discussion, with PowerPoint slides and videos where applicable. Questions during lectures are encouraged (if they are germane to the discussion!), and there will be occasional handouts with questions/issues intended to provoke thought as well as discussion. Attendance is part of your final grade, so be sure not to let your presence in class slip as the semester progresses!

Exams will consist of objective questions, as well as a choice of take-home essay questions based on lectures and readings. The final exam will not be cumulative but it will be longer than the midterm. There will be three quizzes, two of which will be map quizzes, so be sure you are able to associate significant sites in space as well as time. Study guides will be provided before each exam, but these will not be comprehensive. You will receive the take-home essay questions two weeks before each exam and will hand in two essays on the day of the exam. All essays must be typed and must follow format provided!
Midterm: 30% (Essays 40 pts. [20 points each]; objective questions 60 pts. out of 100)
Final: 35% (Essays 40 pts. [20 points each]; objective questions 60 pts. out of 100)
Quizzes: 30% (10% each)
Attendance/Participation: 5%
Undergraduate Extra Credit: Students may earn up to 3 extra credit points by attending talks sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America, Anthropology Department Colloquium and the Wisconsin Archaeological Society (
Graduate Students
Midterm: 25% (objective portion only)
Final Exam: 25% (objective portion only)
Map Quizzes: 15% (5% each)
Final Paper: 35%
You will be expected to produce a 15-20 page final paper, typed, double-spaced with references in American Antiquity format, in addition to taking the objective portions of the midterm and final exams. Please see me about choosing a topic before the Midterm Exam!



  Weeks 1, 2
History and Process
Ancient Civilizations Chapter 1
E-Reserve Reader: Units for Weeks 1 and 2
  arrowWhy Settle Down? The Mystery of Communities   On-line publication from Science
arrowÇatalhöyük   Reports on the ongoing excavations at Çatalhöyük
arrowEvolution of Crop Plants: The origins of agriculture and the domestication of plants   Course at UC-Davis

  Week 3
Origins of Agriculture: Near East and Asia
Ancient Civilizations Ch. 6 through "Millet and Rice" and "Symbolism"
E-Reserve Reader: Units for Week 3 and 4
  arrow`Ain Ghazal Excavation Reports On-line site reports
arrowArchaeobotanical Reports   Bibliography of archaeobotonical research

  Week 4
Origins of Agriculture: Mesoamerica and South America
Ancient Civilizations Ch. 15 thru "Preclassic: The Olmec"; Ch. 17 thru "Initial Period"
E-Reserve Reader: Units for Weeks 3 and 4
[Map Quiz #1 Feb 13!]

  Week 5 and 6
Theories of the Rise of the State
Ancient Civilizations Chapter 2
E-Reserve Reader: Unit for Week 5

  Weeks 7 and 8
Evolution of Complex Societies: Mesopotamia
Ancient Civilizations Chapter 3; Chapter 7
E-Reserve Reader: Units for Weeks 6 and 7
[Transition to FP Quiz March 13!]

  arrowABZU   Resources for the Study of Ancient Mesopotamia
arrowAkkadian Language   Excellent summaries, focusing on culture history and language
arrowAmerican School of Oriental Research   Links to current research projects and more!


Week 10
Spring Break


Mid-Term Exam, March 25!!

  Weeks 10 and 11
Evolution of Complex Societies: Egypt, Indus Valley
Ancient Civilizations Chapter 4 and 5
E-Reserve Reader: Units for Weeks 8 and 9
  arrowEgyptology Resources   Large virtual library of Egyptology resources
arrowTheban Mapping Project   Large online archaeological project


  Week 12
Increasing Social Complexity: Near East, Asia, Africa
Ancient Civilizations Ch. 6 from "Elite Traditions"; Ch. 8; Ch. 12; Ch. 13; Ch. 14
Reading Packet: Units for Weeks 10 and 11
  arrowThe Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean   Another excellent on-line course
arrowArt of the First Cities   The Metropolitan Museum of Art online exhibit
arrowHistory of China
arrowEmperor Qin's Terracotta Warriors and Horses   Wikipedia entry, with link to other resources
arrowClassical Historiography for Chinese History   Another excellent link page
arrowThe Ancient Indus Valley   Excellent introduction to the Harappan Civilization


  Weeks 13 and 14
Evolution of Complex Societies: Mesoamerica and South America
Ancient Civilizations Ch. 15 from "Pre-Classic Maya"; Ch. 16
Reading Packet: Units for Weeks 12 and 13
[Map Quiz #2 April 17!]

  arrowAncient Middle America   Excellent link page
arrowAncient Mesoamerican Civilizations   Excellent link page
arrowChronological Table of Mesoamerican Archaeology 
arrowArchaeology of Teotihuacan 

  Weeks 15, 16
Increasing Social Complexity: Mesoamerica and South America
Ancient Civilizations Chapter 17; Chapter 18
Reading Packet: Unit for Weeks 14 and 15
  arrowThe Aztecs/Mexicas  A very good link page for Aztec archaeology and culture
arrowAztec, Olmec and Mesoamerican Research  A good link pag.

Final Exam! Saturday, May 11, 12:30-2:30pm (NOTE TIME!!)

  Course Reader Articles

Weeks 1 and 2
  1. Diamond, Jared 1987. The worst mistake in the history of the human race. Discover May 1987: 64-66.
  2. Hayden, Brian 1995. A new overview of domestication. In T. Douglas Price and Anne Birgitte Gebauer (eds) Last Hunters, First Farmers, pp. 273-299. Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research Press.
  3. Trigger, Bruce 2003. Ch. 2 Comparative studies pp. 15-39. Understanding Early Civilizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Week 3 and 4
  1. Diamond, Jared 1992. The arrow of disease. Discover October 1992: 64-73. Reprinted in Annual Editions in Physical Anthropology 01/02, pp. 123-129.
  2. Gary Feinman and T. Douglas Price 1999. 'Ain Mallaha; 'Ain Ghazal; Paleoethnobotany; Archaeozoology; Jericho; Obsidian and long-distance trade; Ban-Po-Ts'un; Mehrgarh. Images of the Past, pp. 182-203. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  3. Masson, Marilyn A. and Michael E. Smith 2000. Mesoamerican Civilizations. In Marilyn A. Masson and Michael E. Smith (eds) The Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica, pp. 1-14. Oxford: Blackwell.
  4. Feinman and Price 1999. Guilá Naquitz Cave (214-216); Tehuacán (220-223); Guitarrero Cave (224-227). Images of the Past. New York:McGraw-Hill.
Week 5 and 6
  1. Yoffee, Norman 2005. Chapters 1 and 2. Myths of the Archaic State, pp. 4-41. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Trigger, Bruce 2003. Ch. 5 Kingship pp. 71-91. Understanding Early Civilizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Weeks 7 and 8
  1. Feinman and Price 1999. Old World States and Empires (384-387); Eridu (388-3900; Temples (391); Uruk (392-396); Early Writing Systems (397-399). Images of the Past. New York:McGraw-Hill.
  2. McGovern, Patrick 2003. Ch. 1 Stone Age wine pp. 1-15; Ch. 5 Wine of the earliest pharaohs pp. 85-106. Ancient Wine, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  3. Trigger, Bruce 2003. Urbanism pp. 121-141. Understanding Early Civilizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Weeks 9 and 10
  1. Wengrow, David 2006. Chapter 1: Egypt and the Outside World. The Archaeology of Early Egypt, pp. 13-40. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Feinman and Price 1999. Hierakonpolis (408-413); Giza and Dynastic Egypt (414-419). Images of the Past.
  3. Trigger, Bruce 2003. Ch. 9 Family organization and gender roles pp. 167-194. Understanding Early Civilizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  4. McIntosh, Jane 2002. Chapter 1: Lost Civilizations; Chapter 4: Crafts of the Indus; Chapter 8: The Enigmatic Indus Script. A Peaceful Realm: The Rise and Fall of the Indus Civilization. New York: Nevraumont Publishing Company.
  5. Feinman and Price 1999. Harappa and Mohenjo-daro (400-407). Images of the Past.
Week 11
  1. Barnes, Gina L. 1993. Chapter 1: Orientation; Chapter 9: Early Mainland States; The Rise of Civilization in East Asia. London: Thames & Hudson.
  2. Hadingham, Evan 1994. The mummies of Xinjiang. Discover April 1994: 68-77. Reprinted in Annual Editions in Archaeology 00/01, pp. 87-90.
  3. Feinman and Price 1999. An-Yang (420-425); Xianyang (428-433). Images of the Past.
  4. Trigger, Bruce 2003. Ch. 19 Conceptions of the supernatural pp. 409-443. Understanding Early Civilizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Weeks 12 and 13
  1. Reilly, F. Kent III 2000. Art, ritual and rulership in the Olmec world. In Marilyn A. Masson and Michael E. Smith (eds) The Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica, pp. 369-399. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  2. Demarest, Arthur 2000. Ideology in ancient Maya cultural evolution. In Marilyn A. Masson and Michael E. Smith (eds) The Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica, pp. 279-299. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  3. Feinman and Price 1999. San José Mogote (286-287); San Lorenzo (290-293); El Morador (296-299); Monte Albán (300-304); Teotihuacan (306-310); Tikal (312-315). Images of the Past.
Weeks 14 and 16
  1. Feinman and Price 1999. Tula (326-327; Chichén Itzá (328-331); Tenochtitlan (332-336). Images of the Past.
  2. Smith, Michael E. 1997. Life in the provinces of the Aztec Empire. Scientific American September 1997: 76-83.
  3. Feinman and Price 1999. South America (342-345); Chavín de Huántar (350-353); Moche (354-358); Tiwanaku (364-367); Cuzco and Machu Picchu (372-377). Images of the Past.

  University and Departmental Policies
Please take the time to read through the attached sheet. If you have any additional questions, please stop by my office or send me an e-mail message at

Academic Misconduct:
Please read carefully! Cheating and plagiarism are serious offenses and will not be tolerated. Any student who engages in academic misconduct as defined below will receive an F in this course. Student academic misconduct procedures are specified in Chapter UWS 14 and the UWM implementation provisions (Faculty Document 1686: as follows:

Academic misconduct is an act in which a student seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation, uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise, forges or falsifies academic documents or records, intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others, engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student's academic performance, or assists other students in any of these acts.

Prohibited conduct includes cheating on an examination; collaborating with others in work to be presented, contrary to the stated rules of the course; submitting a paper or assignment as one's own work when a part or all of the paper or assignment is the work of another; submitting a paper or assignment that contains ideas or research of others without appropriately identifying the sources of those ideas; stealing examinations or course materials; submitting, if contrary to the rules of a course, work previously presented in another course; tampering with the laboratory experiment or computer program of another student; knowingly and intentionally assisting another student in any of the above, including assistance in an arrangement whereby any work, classroom performance, examination or other activity is submitted or performed by a person other than the student under whose name the work is submitted or performed.

Writing Center Information:
The Writing Center in CURTIN 382 welcomes writers from any discipline, at all skill levels, inexperienced through advanced, freshmen through graduate students. No matter where students are in a task, whether still exploring a reading, brainstorming, drafting or revising, they can benefit from talking to a well-qualified and trained tutor. Call 229-4339, make appointments online 24/7:, or walk in.


© 2000 Bettina Arnold, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Last Updated: January 20, 2013