How do we know what we think we know about ancient peoples and societies? Archaeology is the study of past societies through the material traces they left behind from the great pyramids to microscopic bits of garbage. This course will review the global archaeological record from the earliest stone tools, roughly 3.3 million years ago, through the rise and fall of ancient civilizations of the Middle East, Africa, South and East Asia, and the Americas. We will examine evidence and theories pertaining to global dispersals, origins of agriculture, urbanization and societal collapse. Throughout the course we will discuss methodologies of site discovery, excavation, chronometric dating, skeletal analysis, and artifact characterization. We also discuss how the past is used for modern political and social agendas. Students will create virtual museum exhibits on archaeological topics of their choosing. Not offered 2022-23.
The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements, and other important topics.