ANTH 1190: Origins of Ancient Civilizations
Arthur A. Joyce, Professor (a
Guy Hepp, TA (
Morgan Koukopoulos (Johnrobert.Koukopoulos@Colorado.EDU)
Jakob Sedig, TA (email@example.com)
Dave Williams, TA (
: This course examines the origins and development of the world's first civilizations.
most of human history people lived in small, mobile social groups that relied on wild plants and
animals for food.
Beginning about 10,000 years ago, as the last ice age waned, human societies in a
number of regions underwent a series of dramatic transformations that would lead to the types of
complex, urban societies that dominate the world today.
Small hunting-and-gathering bands grew and
settled into agricultural villages, which developed into larger towns and then into complex states.
Early civilizations are found in such diverse regions as Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, China,
Mesoamerica, and South America.
These civilizations were characterized by huge cities sometimes
with over 100,000 people and organized by complex political and economic systems.
agriculture supported population centers often leading to dramatic ecological changes.
In this course we examine the history of the cultural changes that led to the rise of early civilizations.
We consider why ancient civilizations seem to go through repeated cycles of rise, expansion, and
We will consider the role of material factors like trade and agriculture as well as ideology
and religion in the development of early civilizations.
These issues are addressed as scientific
questions and we consider some of the methods that archaeologists use to study early cities and states.
We examine the archaeological sites, artifacts, art, architecture, and writing of early complex political
systems or polities.
Slides and films will be used to illustrate some of the great discoveries from these
early states: the Pyramid of the Sun at the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan, the tomb of the Maya
ruler Pacal, the walls of Jericho, the Royal Cemetery at Ur, the Pyramids of Giza, and the great
roadways of the Inca Empire.
By comparing the archaeological record of these first states we will
consider both classical and modern theories on the nature, origins, and development of civilization.
Particular emphasis is given to recent archaeological discoveries and current controversies.
this comparative survey we seek insights into historical processes that led to the origins of civilization
and patterns of cultural change.
The class meets for lectures MW from 10:00-10:50 am in MCDB A2B70.
Each student is also
required to attend a weekly recitation section (see your class schedule).
I will hold office hours in
Hale 156 on Monday 1:00-3:00 pm and Wednesday 1:00-2:00pm, or by appointment.
phone number is 303-735-3055.
There is one required text for the course, which has been ordered through the CU Bookstore: