Faculty of Arts


World Archaeology



This course is a survey of world archaeology from the emergence of culture over two million years ago in Africa, through the development of food production in the Near East, Asia and the Americas and the rise of the first cities and states in Mesopotamia, China and the Americas. We conclude with a survey of the last great human adventure which was the settlement of Oceania ending in Polynesia and New Zealand.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course you are expected to have grounding in human cultural evolution over the last two million years. You will be able to discuss the following topics:

  • The difference between modern theories of cultural evolution and earlier ideas of unilineal cultural evolution
  • The significant developments that led to the emergence of modern humans from our archaic ancestors
  • Social and cultural changes associated with the domestication of plants and animals
  • Changes that accompanied the beginnings of social complexity
  • The significance of the rise of complex society
  • Methods (e.g., excavation, dating) used to find and analyse archaeological materials

In your discussion of these topics, you will be expected to use examples drawn from a number of locations from around the world. You will be expected to write about these topics in essays and to be able to answer specific questions in short answer or multi-choice format. You will also be required to attend tutorials and participate in tutorial discussion.


Coursework + exam

Availability 2021

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Professor Peter Sheppard


Scarre, C. (ed.) 2018. The Human Past: World Prehistory and the Development of Human Societies (3rd ed.) London: Thames and Hudson.


Coursework + exam


ANTHRO 101: 15.0 points

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