|Course title:||Archaeological Theory|
|Grading method:||letter grade|
|Subsidy level:||Baccalaureate and Master's|
|Flexibly Scheduled Course:|
|Prerequisites (list each individually, one course per line, with course number and title)|
Introduction to Archaeology (3240:250)
prerequisites to be checked at time of registration? yes
|Corequisites (list each individually, one course per line, with course number and title)|
corequisites to be checked at time of registration? no
|Prerequisite: 250. Advanced seminar covering history of scientific archaeological exploration, major theoretical paradigms and current trends in archaeology. Required for Certificate in Field Archaeology.|
|R. Preucel and I. Hodder 1996
Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: A Reader
Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
|This course adds advanced instruction in basic theory to the archaeology curriculum. The program, as it is currently structured, has no specific course addressing this essential topic. The course is currently being taught as a Special Topics with good enrollment. This course will complement existing practical courses in archaeology, including the field school and laboratory methods, to provide well-rounded undergraduate training in the Certificate program.|
University of Akron
Department of Classical Studies, Anthropology & Archaeology
Instructor: Dr. Timothy Matney
Office: Olin 241
Contact Info: 972-6892, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: Tuesday 2:00-3:30pm, or by appointment
Meetings: MW 12:15-1:30
Classroom: Ayers 113
Course No.: 3240:400/500-001
Introduction to Archaeology (3240:250). Required for Certificate in Field Archaeology.
Advanced undergraduate seminar covering history of scientific archaeological exploration, major theoretical paradigms and current trends in archaeology. This course will cover the major movements within archaeological theory: descriptive-classificatory,
processual and post-processual archaeology, as well as important intellectual developments from other disciplines which influenced archaeological thought (e.g., Marxism, feminism, structuralism, etc.). The purpose of this historically-oriented approach to data analysis and interpretation is to provide the students with an
understanding of the context in which archaeological theory has developed and the value of the insights that each of these approaches gives to modern researchers working in the field. Such an understanding is basic to any critique of contemporary archaeology and to the training of competent field archaeologists.
This course has three fundamental objectives (in decreasing order of importance):
1. Help students learn to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments and
points of view.
2. Teach students fundamental principles, generalizations and theories.
3. Teach students factual knowledge.
R. Preucel and I Hodder, eds. (1996) Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: A Reader.
Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Additional readings will be provided throughout the semester.
Notes on Registration, Enrollment & Dropping Classes
Students who do not appear on the University’s official class list by January 28, 2003 will not be permitted to participate (attend class, take exams or receive credit). This is official University policy.
If you require accommodation you should contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at 972-7928, as well as make arrangements with me during the first week of the semester.
Requirements & Grading
Your grade in this course is determined by a series of three written exams (each worth 50 points for a total of 150 points) and two in-class presentations (each worth 25 points for a total of 50 points). Your course grade is based on a 200 point scale. The following point
scale is used to determine your grade.
A 185-200 points C 145-154 points
A- 180-184 points C- 140-144 points
B+ 175-179 points D+ 135-139 points
B 165-174 points D 120-134 points
B- 160-164 points F 119 & fewer points
C+ 155-159 points
Attendance in class is fundamental to good performance. I do not take a formal attendance in class, but as you will be expected to know the material covered in class meetings and discussions, not just what is in the textbooks, it make sense to come to class regularly. If
you miss class, you are responsible for tracking changes in the course syllabus.
Late work policy
Late work is not accepted. An excused absence is given only if you can present me with an appropriate written excuse from your doctor for emergency purposes. In other words, please do not schedule to have your teeth cleaned during my class hours, but if you or
your children are sick enough to require emergency medical treatment, you will not be penalized for missed assignments. Please talk to me at least two weeks in advance to arrange for any other type of excused absence. There are no exceptions to this rule, so
please do not ask.
Plagiarism is the unacknowledged borrowing of information, wording, organization, or ideas from another person. Whether the original source is public (e.g., a newspaper, book, or journal article the internet) or private (e.g., a classmate's paper), you need to indicate
your indebtedness to it. Where you repeat the exact language of your source, you must treat the borrowed material as a quotation and place it within quotation marks with an appropriate citation at the end. However, by merely changing a few words or the word order or by paraphrasing, you do not avoid plagiarism. In all cases, you should cite yoursource. There is nothing wrong in acknowledging an intellectual debt to someone. (This statement is adapted from a handout by Department of English, Trenton State College).
In this course, the penalty for plagiarism on an exam is an automatic grade of zero for that assignment. Extensive plagiarism will result in a course grade of "F" and the filing of charges of Academic Misconduct. For further information on the University’s policies,
see the “Academic Dishonesty” section in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
Graduate Credit Students who have enrolled for graduate credit (i.e., as a 500-level course) from another department will be given additional work during the semester. Each graduate student will
be scheduled to present a 40-50 minute discussion/lecture to the class describing some aspect of the intellectual intersection between archaeological theory and their own field of study. The details and timing of this lecture will be worked out at the beginning of the
semester in consultation with the instructor.
This project will be worth a total of 50 points, so your final grade will come from a 250 point scale, as noted below:
A 235-250 points C 185-189 points
A- 225-234 points C- 175-184 points
B+ 215-224 points D+ 165-174 points
B 211-214 points D 150-164 points
B- 200-210 points F 149 & fewer points
C+ 190-199 points
Changes to the Syllabus
I reserve the right to make changes, as necessary, to this syllabus at any time. Students are responsible for any changes in the syllabus that are announced in class.
Week 1 (Jan 13/15)
Topics: Course introduction: what is archaeological theory?
Archaeology as anthropology, history, geography, ecology…
Scope and goals of archaeological research
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, prologue
Week 2 (Jan 20/22)
*** No class on Jan 20 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ***
Topics: Archaeological data and explanation
Nature of archaeological evidence, context
Archaeological reasoning, culture change
“Low-level” theory; “Middle Range” theory; “high-level” theory
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 1
Week 3 (Jan 27/29)
Topics: Early history of archaeology & cultural-historical archaeology
Antiquarianism, science and humanism
Racism; Early field techniques
Diffusion, migration and invention
The problem with “culture” as an archaeological concept
Week 4 (Feb 3/5)
Topics: Processual archaeology
Binford’s critique of archaeological practice
Adoption of the scientific methodology
Is archaeology science?
Week 5 (Feb 10/12)
Topics: Post-processual (interpretive) archaeology
Critiques of processual approaches
Hodder’s “Reading the Past”
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 9, 14, “Material Symbols”
Week 6 (Feb17/19)
Exam 1 – Feb 17
Topics: Social archaeology
Social organization, ranking
Burials, belief systems, religion, family structure
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 6, 15
Week 7 (Feb 24/26)
Topics: Modeling political systems in archaeology
Centralization and the emergence of states
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 4, 10, “The Production of Value”
Week 8 (Mar 3/5)
Topics: Economic and ecological archaeology
Trade and redistribution
Energy flow, core-periphery models, world systems theory
Modes of production
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 2, 7, “Nature and Culture”
Week 9 (Mar 10/12)
Topics: Evolutionary theory in archaeology
Darwinian and Neo-Darwinian perspectives
Biological evolution as model for social evolution
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 8, 11, “Process, Structure and History”
Week 10 (Mar 17/19)
Topics: Feminist and gendered archaeologies
Sex, gender and material correlates
Sexual division of labor
Critiques of androcentric science
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 12, 17, 18, “Understanding Sex and Gender”
Week 11 (Mar 24/26)
*** SPRING BREAK ***
Week 12 (Mar 31/Apr 2)
Topics: Marxism, functionalism neo-Marxist archaeology
Environmental and settlement archaeology
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 5, 23
Exam 2 – Apr 2
Week 13 (Apr 7/9)
Topics: Cognitive archaeology
Rethinking ancient belief systems
Renfrew’s “Archaeology of the Mind”
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 3, 13
Week 14 (Apr 14/16)
Topics: Archaeology and presentations of power
Constructing identity’s for (dead) “others”
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 20, 21, 22, “Representations and
Week 15 (Apr 21/23)
Topics: Contextual archaeology
Relativist critiques of archaeology
Archaeology as social practice
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 24, 25, 26, “Constructing Identities”
Week 16 (Apr 28/30)
Topics: Final discussion
Ethics in Archaeology
Future of Archaeology?
Reading: Hodder/Preucel, ch. 16, 19, “Theoretical Archaeological Discourse”
Exam 3- as scheduled for final exam week
|B. Trigger (1989) A History of Archaeological Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
K.R. Dark (1995) Theoretical Archaeology. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.