Anthropology 21
Spring 2005

Professor Vincas Steponaitis Teaching Assistant Erik Johannesson Teaching Assistant Jon Marcoux

Course Description: This course provides an introduction to archaeology through the study of ceremonial centers and cities built by the ancient peoples of North, Middle, and South America. The focus is on case studies and the historical processes by which these religious and urban centers arose. This course fulfills the General College social science and non-western/comparative perspectives.

Course Structure: There will be two lectures per week. Films and guest lectures will be scheduled at various times during the semester.

Meeting Times:  Lectures are given on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-4:45 p.m., in Manning 209. Recitation sections meet on Wednesdays at intervals throughout the semester. Currently, recitation sections are scheduled for the following dates: February 9, March 2, April 6, and April 27.

Required Text: T. Douglas Price and Gary M. Feinman, Images of the Past (4th edition).

Course Requirements: In addition to the assigned readings, course requirements will include the following: a midterm exam (20%), a final exam (35%), and three take-home projects (40%).  Current-events assignments will constitute the remaining 5% of your grade.

Exams: There will be a midterm and a final examination, mostly consisting of short answers but also potentially containing one or more essay questions. The dates of these exams are given in course schedule below. Make-up exams will not be scheduled, except in extraordinary circumstances (see below).

Projects: There will be three take-home assignments due at various times during the semester. You can work together on these projects, cooperate in gathering the necessary information, and discuss them among yourselves, but you must do the writing independently. That is, each student must do his or her own write-up and turn it in. If two students turn in identical, or nearly identical, write-ups, this will be considered a breach of the honor code. The tentative schedule for these assignments is as follows:

Late assignments will not be accepted, except in extraordinary circumstances (see below).

Current Events: Starting with the second Tuesday in the semester (1/25), and then at three-week intervals thereafter (2/15, 3/8, and 3/29), you are expected to turn in an article or news report from the media on any archaeological topic related to the Americas (it need not be on a topic specifically covered in this course). Together with the article you must hand in a brief reflection (no longer than one typed, double-spaced page), which states your opinion of the article and/or any questions that it brings to mind. I will choose from among these articles and occasionally discuss them in class. (Your grade does not depend on whether I choose to discuss it in class.) Late assignments will not be accepted, except in extraordinary circumstances (see below).

Policy on Incomplete or Late Work: All students must take the exams and do the mini-projects to pass this course. Under ordinary circumstances, there will be no make-up exams and late assignments will not be accepted. If truly extraordinary circumstances make it impossible for you to do an assignment or to take an exam, contact Prof. Steponaitis at the time the problem arises (not at the end of the semester) in order to make appropriate arrangements.

Honor Code: Students are expected to adhere to UNC's Honor Code. All written work must be accompanied by a signed pledge attesting that the student has neither given nor received unauthorized aid in completing the assignment. (One can use the short form and simply write "Pledge" followed by a signature.)

Course Syllabus:  Click here for a PDF version of the course syllabus.  Note that the paper syllabus does not contain all the information and links that appear in the course web site.

Course Web Site: This web site contains not only all the information in the course syllabus, but also links to other relevant web sites.  It will be continually updated throughout the semester. Note also that all the assigned and optional articles published in Science and Annual Review of Anthropology are available on the web from JSTOR at <>.  JSTOR can be accessed from any campus computer; to access this site from home, you must do so through UNCís proxy server (see <> for instructions).


1/18-2/3   Introduction and basic concepts.

2/8-2/10   Background to urbanism in the Americas: early cultures and farming. [First project due 2/8]

2/15-3/1   Case studies: North America . [Second project due 3/1]

3/3   Midterm Examination (in class) [click here for grading rubric]

3/8-4/7    Case studies: Mesoamerica.

4/12-4/21    Case studies: South America. [Third project due 4/19]

4/26-4/28    Reflections on the past.

5/10   Final Examination (2:00 p.m.)

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department of Anthropology, UNC-CH
Archaeology Program, UNC-CH
Research Laboratories of Archaeology, UNC-CH

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