Archy 377 examines the archaeology of the arctic and subarctic from the late Pleistocene to the 19th century AD. Arctic and subarctic environments represent some of the most extreme environments ever occupied by humans, and the history of human adaptation to these environments is a testimonial to human creativity and its limits. This course compares the archaeological evidence from northern Eurasia, Beringia, North America and Greenland to illustrate variability in human adaptation to geographic, ecological, and climatic differences and to explore questions of cultural change and history in these different areas.
Student learning goals
„Ã Describe the archaeological evidence for human colonization and adaptation to high latitudes from the Pleistocene to the 19th century
„Ã Summarize key aspects of environmental change in the high latitudes from the Pleistocene through Holocene and the relevance of environmental change to human adaptations and cultural practices.
„Ã Articulate key concepts for explaining cultural and environmental change in the arctic and subarctic.
„Ã Describe the history of cultural contacts between arctic/subarctic cultures from Eurasia, what motivated them, how they developed, and what outcomes they precipitated.
„Ã Understand the deep historical legacy of arctic cultures and environments in the context of current social, climatic and environmental change.
General method of instruction
Class sessions will be divided into mini-lectures, class discussion, student presentations, occasional films, student led discussions/presentations, and group work
Archy 205 is an exxcellent prerequisite to the methods of archaeological research. If you don't have this, please talk to the instructor on or before the first day of class.
Class assignments and grading
- two books plus articles posted to the class web site (average reading, 30-60 pages/week depending on density of material) - low-stakes reading and geography quizzes - a midterm exam - a class project with optional group component - a final paper
Grades are assigned based on performance on the quizzes, midterm, project, final paper, project and class participation (presentations, discussions, etc.)