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CCOG for ATH 102 archive revision 201801

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Effective Term:
Winter 2018 through Summer 2019
Course Number:
ATH 102
Course Title:
Introduction to Archaeology and Prehistory
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces archaeology as the anthropological study of humans using scientific inquiry to understand the past through the examination of material and human remains. Traces the evolution of human behavior from lower Paleolithic beginnings, some two to three million years ago, through the development of written histories or European contact. Provides an overview of methods used by archaeologists to locate, map, and excavate sites, to conduct laboratory analysis, to date archaeological materials, and to interpret the past using archaeological theory. Presents a synthesis of the trends of prehistory and history. Emphasizes the influence of environment and social complexity on status, economy, gender, identity, and ritual behavior. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Use an understanding of archaeological methods and theories to evaluate artifacts and other data.
  2. Evaluate the impact of human beings on the environment over time and in different ecological settings.
  3. Describe how past societies have shaped modern cultural perspectives on gender, status, and identity.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies may include any of the following:

* exams (in class or take home)

* term papers 

* quizzes

* short papers or reports

* student presentations

* experiential exercises

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Physical and Cultural Evolution
  • Archaeology versus Prehistory
  • Material Culture
  • Non-material Culture


  • Monogenesis versus Polygenesis
  • Cultural Diffusion
  • Cultural Variation versus Diversity


  • Time
  • Cultural Evolution
  • Cultural Ecology
  • Chaos Theory
  • Random Variation
  • Language and Culture
  • Race as a Cultural Construct


  • Study Prehistory at a College level
  • Learn Human Cultural Evolution as exhibited through archaeology

Texts, monographs, films or other materials are at the discretion of the instructor with prior approval of the Anthropology Subject Area Curriculum Committee.