ANTH 2200 The Archaeology of Human History

Instructor Contact:

Dr. Timothy Webmoor


Instructor bio:

I am an Assistant Professor adjunct in the Department of Anthropology. I received my PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University and took a post-­‐doc at Oxford University. I’ve recently co-­‐authored a book that reviews the state of the field: Archaeology: The Discipline of Things (2012, University of California Press). Having studied archaeology as an undergraduate at CU, I am excited to be back to offer this course where it all began for me.

About the Course:

This course will cover survey the major developments of world prehistory from the earliest humans to the development of complex societies. The course will also give you a basic introduction to the methods that archaeologists use to study the past. In this class, you will explore the lives of early hunter/gatherers and you will marvel at pyramids of Egypt and the temples of the ancient Maya. Periodically throughout the class, we will discuss how archaeologists excavate and interpret archaeological sites.


After the course students should understand the basic developments in human (pre)history, and have an appreciation for how archaeology studies this past. To achieve this, students will:

  • Describe the major evolutionary changes in human anatomy, behavior and cultural expression
  • Explain the major processes of evolution and cultural complexity leading to the populating of the world
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the basic theoretical and methodological principles of archaeology
  • Discriminate the major field techniques of archaeology and how they lead to relevant data
  • Categorize the major civilizations of the Old and New Worlds
  • Assess the arguments for the growth of complexity and state societies

Required Texts:

  • Feder, Kenneth L. The past in perspective: An introduction to human prehistory, 6th edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Ashmore, Wendy and Robert J. Sharer. Discovering our past: A brief introduction to archaeology, 5th edition. McGraw-­‐Hill Publishing Company, New York, 2010.


  • 15% – Online chat participation (comprised of an ‘initial post’ and a ‘response post’ for each of 7 Discussion Threads, so 2 points possible each week plus another 1 point awarded for consistent participation (2 x 7 = 14 + 1 for consistency = 15 points)
  • 20% – Internet Research Projects (2 x 10 = 20 points)
  • 40% – Quizzes: each quiz is worth a total of 10 points (4 x 10 = 40 points)
  • 25% – Final Exam (25 points)

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado