Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Introduction to Archaeology": Class Syllabus

Starting today, I am teaching a course this spring semester 2008: "Introduction to Archaeology," at the UM-Helena as adjunct faculty. This blog will be used this semester as a teaching aid for the class and to help me organize classes. Class outlines and supplementary materials and items of interest will be posted here as well. Today I will start by posting the syllabus.


ANTH 250: Introduction to Archaeology CRN 37473 / 3 credits
Spring 2008/ T & Th, 2:45-4:00 pm / Room DON 206
Instructor: Lance M. Foster, M.A., M.L.A.
E-mail: lancemfoster@yahoo.com
Academic Web Site: http://montanaarchaeology.blogspot.com
Office Hours/Location: By Appointment

Course Overview
Archaeology is the study of past human cultures through their material remains. Archaeology uses many different approaches and tools to study and explain how people lived in the distant and not-so-distant past. Artifacts, sites, settlements, and landscapes may be studied to help reveal how people lived, how they saw themselves and their world, what the environment was like, and how these factors interrelated and changed through time. In this class you will gain an overview of what archaeology is, how archaeology is done, and what it can tell us about our world, past, present and perhaps even a glimpse of our future. This course is intended to be an introductory survey of archaeology for undergraduate students, either as an elective or as a foundation for further studies in archaeology. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Objectives
The Introduction to Archaeology course is designed to be transferable and comparable with other Introduction to Archaeology courses taught by the Montana University system. This course is based upon the Seven Principles for Curriculum Reform, as proposed by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), which are based on SAA's Seven Principles of Archaeological Ethics. Through the full participation in, and completion of, this class, the student will know the following principles and be able to accomplish the associated tasks:

1. ARCHAEOLOGICAL METHODOLOGY: Describe the BASIC ARCHAEOLOGICAL SKILLS: how to locate, record, investigate, analyze, and interpret archaeological sites. Survey, excavation, analysis, interpretation.

2. COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Demonstrate good COMMUNICATION skills: written, oral, visual, and interactive, to understand and tell the story of the past

3. ARCHAEOLOGICAL ETHICS: Discuss critically PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND VALUES in archaeology: skills, honesty, responsibility to science and to the many different publics

4. Understand and compare DIVERSE INTERESTS IN THE PAST: different people's associations with prehistory and history

5. Describe the processes and methods of STEWARDSHIP: preserving nonrenewable cultural resources through policy, law, and public education

6. Discuss critically archaeology's SOCIAL RELEVANCE: connections of past human systems and adaptations with today's world

7. Describe not only specific case studies but general archaeological principles relating to REAL-WORLD PROBLEM SOLVING: practical application of knowledge from the human past

Required Texts

Ashmore, Wendy, and Robert J. Sharer
2000 Discovering Our Past: A Brief Introduction to Archaeology. 3rd edition. McGraw-Hill.

Diamond, Jared
2005 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Penguin Books.

Feder, Kenneth L.
2005 Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology. 5th Edition. McGraw-Hill.

Course Grading and Expectations

A. ATTENDANCE: Attendance will be taken regularly. Class participation counts as part of your grade, and absences will negatively impact both what you learn and your final class grade. If you will be absent, tell in advance and the absence may be excused. Please get the notes from other students if you have to miss a class. The professor will not provide copies of his lecture notes to students. Makeup exams will only be given for officially excused absences.

B. PARTICIPATION: Classes include lectures, discussions, films, and slide presentations. Readings must be done IN ADVANCE so you can DISCUSS the material in class. Lectures include material beyond that in your texts for which you will be responsible on exams, so note-taking and attendance are required. Taping lectures is permitted, but not for sale or profit. You are encouraged to bring in pertinent articles from the current news media to discuss. Class participation will be part of the grade.

C. EXAMS: There will be two exams, a midterm and a final. Both include essay-type questions as well as multiple choice, and each will cover assigned readings for that time period as well as lectures and other class materials. The final will be cumulative to a small degree in that you will need to know the basic concepts of archaeology to interpret the record of prehistory and early history. There will be NO makeup exams except in fully documented serious circumstances. A makeup exam must be taken within one week of the missed exam, and will consist of all essay questions.


(1) The first short paper (3 pages) will evaluate two or more websites/programs/articles on archaeology. A well-organized critique and comparison covering the intended audience, and research goals and theoretical perspectives, and relating the reviewed materials to information given in the course. This paper is due on FEB. 14.

(2) A second short paper (5 pages) will be an essay by the student reacting to the book "Collapse" by Jared Diamond, relating it to what has been learned about archaeology in the course, and using at least three other sources from the library or the Internet, properly cited, and original in thought. This paper is due on APRIL 30.

Both papers should be 2-3 pages, double-spaced, typed, and in a professional format (Society for American Archaeology (SAA); handed out separately). LATE PAPERS WILL BE DROPPED ONE FULL GRADE FOR EVERY DAY THEY ARE LATE (A paper that would have been graded a B, will get a C if it is turned in one day late, etc.). Hardcopies are required; E-mailed papers are not accepted.


30% = Midterm exam (multiple choice, matching, and essay)
10% = Review Paper on Programs, Articles, or Internet Sites
10% = Class Participation
20% = Paper on "Collapse"
30% = Final exam (multiple choice, matching, and essay)

100-90 points = A
80-89 points = B
70-79 points = C
60-69 points = D

-/+ added based on class participation and attendance

Late policy/penalties: No late assignments will be accepted without prior arrangement and agreement with instructor.

Academic Rigor
Based on the UM-H Academic Rigor Value Statement, here what you should expect from me:
1) that I communicate the course expectations to you and have them summarized on this syllabus;
2) that I come to class prepared, and that I give you useful feedback on your assignments in a timely manner;
3) that I am available to you outside of the classroom;
4) that you can collaborate with your classmates on writing assignments as long as the products of those assignments are truly your work;
5) that the assignments are relevant, meaningful and challenging;
6) that I approach guiding your learning in ways geared to your diverse talents and abilities;
7) that I reduce, if not eliminate, your perceived need to plagiarize, and that I challenge plagiarism should it occur.

Based on the UM-H Academic Rigor Value Statement, here is what I expect from you:
1) that you will set high expectations for yourself along with a strong sense of collegiate purpose; that you come to class prepared, and complete and submit assignments by the deadlines;
2) that you make the most of your time with me in and out of class;
3) that you treat fellow students and the classroom with respect, and participate in our process;
4) that you manage your time so that you can treat college and this course as real work with real value;
5) that you participate with complete honesty and integrity; and finally
6) that you accept responsibility for learning and the grades you earn.

Academic Integrity
The University of Montana-Helena adheres to high standards of academic integrity. A single instance of the following violations will result in an F grade for that assignment; a subsequent violation will result in an FX grade for the course (see Catalog), and in both cases I will report the violation to the academic dean:

• Plagiarism: submitting the words, work or ideas of others without properly crediting them; this includes tracing/copying the artistic work of others, including sources from the Internet
• Using work generated in another class, by you or someone else, for credit in this class without permission from the instructor.

Guidelines/stylesheet will be supplied on how to incorporate the words, work or ideas of other authors into your two papers.

This syllabus is subject to change. Please turn off cell phones during class.
Students with unique learning needs are encouraged to see me to discuss course requirements and approved accommodations. Students who seek information about disability services should contact Disability Services Director Judy Hay, located in the Access Center, at 444-6897, or at hayj@hct.umt.edu.

Class Schedule


Jan. 22 T First day of class; class syllabus, standards and expectations; the required texts and other materials. Video introduction to archaeology.
Reading assignments for next class: Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 1: “Introduction,” pp. 1-24; Feder, Chapter 1: “Science and Pseudoscience,” pp. 1-16

Jan. 24 Th What Archaeology is—and what it is not. Archaeology defined; ethics and misuses of archaeology; archaeology as science, as history and as anthropology; archaeology as a profession.
Reading assignment for next class: Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 2: “Archaeology’s Past”, pp. 25-38; Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 3: “Contemporary Approaches to Archaeology,” pp. 39-60.


Jan. 29 T The History of Archaeology: Origins, development, and the contemporary scene. The (sub)culture of archaeologists and archaeology.
Reading assignment for next class: Feder, Chapter 2: “Epistemology: How You Know What You Know,” pp. 17-43 and Chapter 3, “Anatomy of an Archaeological Hoax”, pp. 44-63,

Jan. 31 Th Epistemology (how you know what you know), critical thinking, and scientific archaeology. The Cardiff Giant: frauds and hoaxes in archaeology.
Reading assignment for next class: Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 4: “How Archaeology Works,” pp. 61-86.


Feb. 5 T Archaeological data, deposition and site transformation processes, research design; archaeological research projects.
Reading assignment for next class: Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 5: “Fieldwork,” pp. 87-124 and Feder, Chapter 10, “Good Vibrations: Psychics and Dowsers,” pp. 261-277.

Feb. 7 Th Archaeology in the field: Survey, excavation, data processing, classification.
Reading assignment for next class: Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 6: “Analyzing the Past,” pp. 125-156.



Feb. 12 T Archaeology in the laboratory: Analysis of artifacts, ecofacts, and features.
Reading assignment for next class: Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 7: “Dating the Past,” Pp. 157-178.

Archaeology in the laboratory: Chronology, seriation, sequence comparison, stratigraphy, geochronology, obsidian hydration, floral and faunal analysis, radiometry, archaeomagnetism, limited/experimental methods.
Reading assignment for next class: Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 8: “Reconstructing the Past,” Pp. 179-211.


Feb. 19 T Archaeological Interpretation: Analogy and the abuse of analogy, Identifying activities in space and time
Reading assignment for next class: Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 9: “Understanding the Past,” Pp. 212-237 and Chapter 11, “Old Time Religion – New Age Visions,” pp. 278-310.

Feb. 21 Th Archaeological Paradigms: Culture History Approach, Processualism, Post-Processual and Emergent Interpretations, Multiple Approaches, Alternative Archaeologies
Reading assignment for next class: Ashmore and Sharer, Chapter 10: “Archaeology Today,” pp. 238-254 and Feder, Chapter 12, “Real Mysteries of a Veritable Past,” pp. 311-333.


Feb. 26 T Contemporary Issues in Archaeology: Ethics, looting and antiquities collecting; destruction in the name of progress; Cultural Resource Management (CRM); nationalism. colonialism and war; working with descendant communities; the responsibilities of archaeology.
Reading assignment for next class: None, as there will be an exam that class

Feb. 28 Th Contemporary Issues in Archaeology (continued); Midterm Exam Review



Mar. 6 Th Video
Reading assignments for next class: Feder, Chapter 7, “Lost: One Continent – Reward,” pp. 177-206.


Mar. 11 T Outline of Old World Archaeology: Hominids: The Peopling of the World (Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas); DNA and archaeological evidence.
Reading assignment for next class: Feder, Chapter 4, “Dawson’s Dawn Man: The Hoax at Piltdown,” pp. 64-90 and Chapter 9, “Mysterious Egypt,” pp. 234-260.

Mar. 13 Th Outline of Old World Archaeology: Agriculture and the Great Civilizations; Internationally-significant archaeological sites/landscapes of the Old World.
Reading assignment for next class: Chapter 8, “Prehistoric E.T.: The Fantasy of Ancient Astronauts,” pp. 207-233.


Mar. 18 T New World Archaeology: The Peopling of the Americas; Controversies and Native American views.
Reading assignment for next class: Feder, Chapter 5, “Who Discovered America?,” pp. 91-145 and Chapter 6, “The Myth of the Moundbuilders,” pp. 147-176.

Mar. 20 Th New World Archaeology: Agricultural Societies and New World Civilizations; Internationally-significant archaeological sites/landscapes of the New World.
Reading assignment for next class (after Spring Break): Begin reading Jared Diamond’s “Collapse”, Prologue pp. 1-23, and further, to get a head start).


Mar. 24-28 SPRING BREAK – No Classes; College Open


Apr. 1 T Montana Archaeology Overview: Prehistoric Archaeology in Montana; the Historic Indian tribes of Montana; Historic Archaeology in Montana: Mining, ranching, timber, industrial.
Reading assignment for next class: Diamond, “Part One: Modern Montana; Chapter 1: Under Montana’s Big Sky,” pp. 25-75.

Apr. 3 Th Lessons from Archaeology: Montana in Jared Diamond’s “Collapse.”
Reading assignment for next class: Diamond, “Part Two: Past Societies”: “Chapter 2: Twilight at Easter” (pp. 79-119) and “Chapter 3: The Last People Alive: Pitcairn and Henderson Islands” (pp. 120-135).


Apr. 8 T Lessons from Archaeology: “Collapse”: Easter Island and the Polynesians
Reading assignment for next class: Diamond, “Part Two: Past Societies”: “Chapter 4: The Ancient Ones: The Anasazi and Their Neighbors” (pp. 136-156) and “Chapter 5: The Maya Collapses” (pp. 157-177).

Apr. 10 Th Lessons from Archaeology: “Collapse”: The Anasazi and the Maya
Reading assignment for next class: Diamond, “Part Two: Past Societies”: “Chapter 6: The Viking Prelude and Fugues” (pp. 178-210) and “Chapter 7: Norse Greenland’s Flowering” (pp. 211-247).


Apr. 15 T Lessons from Archaeology: “Collapse”: The Vikings, Part I
Reading assignment for next class: Diamond, “Part Two: Past Societies”: “Chapter 8: Norse Greenland’s End” (pp. 248-276) and “Chapter 9: Opposite Paths to Success” (pp. 277-308.

Apr. 17 Th Lessons from Archaeology: “Collapse”: The Vikings, Part II
Reading assignment for next class: Diamond, “Part Three: Modern Societies”: “Chapter 10: Malthus in Africa: Rwanda’s Genocide” (pp. 311-328) and “Chapter 11: One Island, Two Peoples, Two Histories: The Dominican Republic and Haiti” (pp. 329-357).


Apr. 22 T Lessons from Archaeology: “Collapse”: Modern Societies: Africa and the Caribbean
Reading assignment for next class: Diamond, “Part Three: Modern Societies”: “Chapter 12: China, Lurching Giant” (pp. 358-377) and “Chapter 13: ‘Mining’ Australia” (pp. 378-416.

Apr. 24 Th Lessons from Archaeology: “Collapse”: Modern Societies: Asia and the Pacific
Reading assignment for next class: Diamond, “Practical Lessons”: “Chapter 14: Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions?” (pp. 419-440) and “Chapter 15: Big Businesses and the Environment: Different Conditions, Different Outcomes” (pp. 441-485).



Apr. 29 T Lessons from Archaeology: “Collapse”: Practical Lessons: Societies, Businesses and the Environment
Reading assignment for next class: Diamond, “Practical Lessons”: “Chapter 16: The World as a Polder: What Does It All Mean to Us Today?” (pp. 486-525).

May 1 Th Lessons from Archaeology: “Collapse”: Practical Lessons: “What Does It All Mean to Us Today?”


May 6 T Fieldtrip to Montana Historical Society, Archaeological Collections, and State Historic Preservation Office

May 8 Th Guest Speaker; Final Exam Review



1 comment:

evision said...