Anthropology 557 

Seminar: Theory and Method in Archaeology:

The Archaeology of Landscapes

Syllabus for course (2005) 

Spring 2005

Wednesdays 9-12:00 

Professor Clark L. Erickson

Department of Anthropology

Office 435 UM; tel. 898-2282


The Sayhuite Stone: A carved Inka shrine depicting an idealized landscape with

humans, felines, canals, terraces, paths, and buildings (from Carrion Cachot 1955).

Traditionally, archaeological research has focused on the "site." Regional investigation tends to stress settlement pattern and settlement system determined through archaeological site survey. This seminar will stress the space between the sites or "points" on the landscape. Most previous attempts at "landscape archaeology" tended to focus on the relationship of sites and the natural environment. This course will highlight the cultural, "anthropogenic," or built environment--in this case human modification and transformation of the natural landscape in the form of pathways, roads, causeways, monuments, walls, agricultural fields and their boundaries, gardens, astronomical and calendrical alignments, and water distribution networks. Features will be examined in terms of the "social logic" or formal patterning of cultural space. These can provide insights into indigenous structures such as measurement systems, land tenure, social organization, cosmology, calendrics, astronomy, cognition, and ritual practices. Ethnographic, ethnohistorical, and archaeological case studies will be investigated from both the Old and New Worlds.

Requirements: Active participation in the weekly seminar and the presentation of an oral and written seminar paper.

Prerequisites: Graduate or advanced undergraduate standing in Anthropology or AAMW or a strong background in Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology.

Anthropology 557: The Archaeology of Landscapes Homepage (includes on-line syllabus and course information

Department of Anthropology Homepage

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology