This course explores the archaeology (material culture) of early complex societies or civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Aegean. According to the traditional paradigm, civilization first emerged during the fourth millennium BCE in Egypt and Mesopotamia. In the Mediterranean, state-level societies first appeared in Crete and mainland Greece in the early second millennium BCE. This course investigates how and why these civilizations developed, as well as their appearance and structure in the early historic (or literate) phases of their existence. A comparative perspective will illustrate what these early civilizations have in common and the ways in which they are unique. This course will consist largely of lectures which will outline classic archaeological and anthropological theories on state formation, before turning to examine the available archaeological (and textual) data on emerging complexity in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Aegean. This course does not presuppose any knowledge of archaeology or ancient languages; the instructor will provide any background necessary. Because this is a course on material culture, some of the class periods will be spent at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. These will consist of a guided tour of a relevant gallery, as well as a hands-on object-based lab with archaeological materials selected by the instructor. This course meets the General Education Curriculums Cross Cultural Analysis foundational approach, whose aim is to help students understand and interpret the cultures of peoples (even long-dead peoples) with histories different from their own; it also fulfills the History and Tradition Sector breadth requirement.
History & Tradition Sector (all classes)
Section 401 - LEC
TR 0130PM-0300PM