World Archaeology: evolutionary origins to the earliest states
An introduction to cultural, technological and subsistence change in prehistory and early history. The course begins with the evolution of hominids, and human dispersal to all parts of the world. Archaeological evidence and analogies with ethnographically documented societies are used to examine the lifestyles of hunter/gatherer/forager communities from the Palaeolithic to the present, with emphasis on subsistence practices and social organization. The changes brought about by the transitions to agriculture and settled life are considered, and the conflicting explanations for these changes evaluated. The course ends with a consideration of alternative theories to explain the emergence of complex societies.