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ANT 197: Lost Continents and Alien Pyramids

Who built ancient monuments like the pyramids and Stonehenge? What role have aliens played in the human past? How could ancient people have accomplished incredible feats of engineering? How can we possibly know what really happened in the past? We will approach these questions, and more, by examining a number of claims made about the archaeological record around the world. In doing so, we will explore the cultural context of extraordinary claims about the past. We will explore how to apply the scientific method in the study of the past while creating products that actively engage with ongoing pseudoarchaeological debates. Major topics covered include Atlantis, giants, and aliens. 

ANT 274: Explorations in Archaeology

This course is largely about the methods of archaeological practice, including both the means by which observations about the world are collected and organized, and how archaeologists recognize and interpret patterning in such observations.  This course also is about the decisions archaeologists make to garner knowledge about people from the material traces of their existence.  By what means do archaeologists find locations of human activity (e.g., archaeological sites)?  How do they know when, where, and how to dig?  How much fieldwork is enough?  What observations are relevant and necessary to answer various questions about human life?  How are observations meaningfully organized to recognize patterning?  What frames of reference are useful for drawing inferences about the past?  How do archaeologists evaluate competing interpretations of the same observations? We will engage with these, and many other, questions with a variety of methods through the semester.

ANT 301: Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Materials

In this course we will explore the analytical methods used to research artifacts found on archaeological sites during the period prior to written records.  Students engage with relevant issues through an emphasis on the practical application of laboratory analysis and discussion of major trends in relevant archaeological theory. 

ATH 351: Midwestern Archaeology

 This course reviews the archaeological evidence for human habitation of the Midwest from the end of the last Ice Age to European contact. We examine evidence from the Midwestern archaeological record in debates about the timing of the arrival of the first Americans, the lifestyles of hunter-gatherers, the origins of plant domestication, the rise of social complexity, and the impact of colonialism on indigenous peoples. In doing so, we address how, and why, archaeologists organize temporal divisions and technological changes in the past. We also explore anthropologically relevant issues such as social and political organization, subsistence and settlement, economics, ritual, and technology.

ATH 384: North American Archaeology

This course reviews the diversity of human occupation in North America from the end of the last Ice Age to European contact. We learn about the different explanations proposed to account for different historical sequences throughout the continent–why some groups shifted from a hunting and gathering to an agricultural economy, or why some developed societies characterized by differences in wealth, prestige and/or power.  We achieve this objective by focusing on large-scale and long-term temporal changes related to important anthropological themes in the diverse geographic areas of North America. We also engage in the ethical issues and debates that are entangled with everything that archaeologists do in service to diverse publics.

ANT 382: Senior Thesis

In this course students write a journal article length paper that brings original thinking to an anthropological topic, debate, or issue. This course helps students conduct research on that topic, develop an explicit theoretical perspective on the topic, and write a professional quality paper.

ANT 460: Research Design in Anthropology

This course provides students with an understanding of the design and implementation of anthropological research. Coursework focuses on research design in anthropology and on the preparation of research proposals. The primary objective of the course is to transition students from writing undergraduate-style research papers that report on the work of others to designing and implementing original anthropological research. Over the course of the semester, students will conceptualize a research question, research the relevant existing literature, and finally formulate a proposal for work that will be an original contribution to anthropological literature. This proposal will set the stage for the student’s master’s thesis research, and must thus be of continuing interest and reasonable scope.

ANT 488: Archaeological Ethics and Law

In this course, students engage with and work through the practical issues professional archaeologists face in their careers every time they set about doing research or talk to non-archaeologists about what it is they do.  We learn the relevant legislation under which cultural resources are managed in the U.S. and the processes that are involved in managing cultural resources.  We also encounter the range of the ethical dilemmas faced by all professional archaeologists and some of the ways in which to resolve those dilemmas.

ANT 381/481: Archaeological Field School

The bread and butter of archaeological education where students learn the relevant skills to become competent field archaeologists. Current fieldwork is centered on the Langford Tradition village of Noble-Wieting in central Illinois.

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