Print Version

Effective: Summer 2015

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Social & Behavioral Sciences Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture. (48 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Students will demonstrate a spatial and temporal understanding of the archaeological evidence and the factors that have shaped and continue to shape human history beginning with the dawn of humanity to the decline of some of the earliest civilizations.
  • Students will critically analyze the archaeological evidence used to interpret patterns in prehistory associated with human migrations, origins of agriculture, order in early societies, and the rise and fall of empires across the globe.
  • Students will apply their knowledge about the goals of archaeology, what archaeologists do, and how they do it.
Description -
Survey of world prehistory as reconstructed by archaeologists. Human culture history from Stone Age beginnings to establishment and collapse of the world's first major civilizations. Covers societies from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas. Introduction to archaeological methods and interpretation. First use of tools, social complexity, urbanization, domestication of plants and animals, and the rise and fall of civilizations.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. gain knowledge of the origin of human beings as traced to the origin of culture.
  2. become familiar with the archaeological evidence that led to the evolution of humans using methods of prehistory, theories of culture growth, and the material evidence of humans.
  3. expand important insights into contemporary human behavior.
  4. apply analytical, critical thinking and research skills to models and theories of social change.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous Internet and Email access.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Introduction to prehistory and archaeology.
  2. Methods in prehistory and archaeology.
  3. Methods of dating organic and inorganic materials.
  4. Human Orgins
    1. Hadar
    2. Laetoli
    3. Swartkrans
    4. Olduvai
    5. First Tools: Oldowan
  5. Great Diaspora
    1. Homo Erectus
    2. Zhoukoudian
    3. First Europeans
    4. Acheulean
  6. Cultural Beginnings
    1. Rise of Homo sapiens
    2. Origins of language
    3. Neanderthals
    4. Lascaux
    5. Pleistocenea
    6. First Americans
      1. Kennewick Man
      2. Monte Verde
      3. Clovis
  7. Complex Hunters and Gatherers
    1. Postglacial foragers
    2. Elands Bay
    3. Contemporary Hunters and Gatherers
  8. First Farmers
    1. Origins of agriculture
    2. Domestication
    3. Paleoethnobotany
    4. Staple crops
    5. Jericho
    6. Archaeozoology
    7. Catalhoyuk
    8. Pottery
    9. Southeast Asia and Rice
    10. Native Americans and Maize
    11. Tehuacan
    12. Valley of Oaxaca
  9. Native North Americans
    1. Hopewell
    2. Cahokia
    3. Monumental Architecture
    4. Moundville
    5. Grave offerings
    6. Snaketown
    7. Southwest
      1. Chaco Canyon
      2. Anasazi
    8. Chiefs
    9. Caribbean
  10. Mesoamerica
    1. Early State Development
    2. San Jose Mogote
    3. Olmec
      1. La Venta
      2. San Lorenzo
    4. Monte Alban
    5. Teotihuacan
    6. Maya
      1. Tikal
      2. Ballgame
      3. Calendar
      4. Monuments
      5. Rise of kings
      6. Collapse
      7. Chichen Itza
    7. Aztec
  11. South America
    1. Chavin
    2. Moche
    3. Nazca
    4. Tiwanaku
    5. Chan Chan
    6. Inca
  12. Southwest Asia
    1. Eridu
    2. Uruk
    3. Harrappa
  13. Africa
    1. Egypt
    2. Great Zimbabwe
  14. Asia
    1. China
    2. Angkor
  15. Europe
    1. Iceman
    2. Stonehenge
    3. Bronze Age
    4. Knossos
    5. Mycenae
    6. Bog People
  16. Past as Present and Future
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Midterm
  2. Final examination
  3. Oral class reports
  4. Written research papers
Representative Text(s) -
Feder, Kenneth, The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Prehistory, Oxford University Press, 2013.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
Lecture, Discussion, Cooperative learning exercises, Oral presentations, Field trips.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Midterm examination designed to cover the first half of the class with multiple choice questions, short answers, and essay questions.
  2. Final examination that is similar and covers the second half of the course.
  3. Oral class reports designed to cover the research topic assigned. Each student will formulate a research project and present the results.
  4. Written research papers due at the end of the quarter.