Anthropology 104

Dr. Robert M. Yohe II, Instructor

Office hours: TR, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.,or by appointment

California State University, Bakersfield MWF 9:30 - 11:00

Room: DDH K110

Office Phone: 664-3457


Course Syllabus

Course Description

Archaeology is one of the four sub disciplines of anthropology that focuses on the study of human life in the past. Unlike social anthropologists who can ask their informants about their cultures or can observe behavior first hand, archaeologists can only explore the life ways of ancient peoples through studying the physical remains they left behind. The clues archaeologists search for to help them unravel the mysteries of the past include people's structures, domestic refuse, and even their bodies (or what is left of them).

This course will be a survey of the fascinating world of archaeology. During the next 10 weeks we will explore a number of "lost worlds," ranging from the earliest known evidence of human activity in the badlands of eastern Africa, to the elaborate stone temples of the Mayan theocracy in Central America. We shall learn about the history of archaeology, the methods archaeologists use to tease out the information from the soils that conceals the secrets of time, and see what it is that archaeology can tell us about past peoples as well as our present day world.

Course Goals and Objectives

The main purpose of this course is to instill in the student an appreciation for the importance of our attempts to understand development of human societies through time. Without knowing where we have been, it is difficult to set the proper course for the future. Our ability to view into the past is made possible by our adherence to scientific methodology, so in order for you to jump onto our "time machine," it will be necessary to know how science works.

As an introductory anthropology course, this class should also help you realize the range, splendor, and necessity of human diversity. The student shall hopefully see that knowledge of our past helps put the present in perspective; some odd things about humanity seem to make more sense when we view the entire history of our species.

Required Texts

The required text for this course Archaeology: The Science of the Human Past by Mark Q. Sutton and Robert M. Yohe II. This text takes a holistic approach to the science of archaeology (which will be distinguished from the pseudoscience of archaeology during the course), using a diverse array of examples from around the world, some as close as Kern County, to illustrate the fascinating world of our species' collective past.

Student Evaluation

Grading for this course will be comprised of two quizzes (20 pts.each), two short film reports (20 pts. each), a midterm (100 pts.), a cumulative final (200 pts.), a project progress report (20 pts.) and a project paper (100 pts.) for a total of 500 points. Final course grading will be based on straight percentages (no curve!). The final is cumulative and will be given at the time designated in your class schedule.

Film reports. Two brief (no more than two typewritten pages) reports on certain films shown in class are required. Each report will outline the content of the film. Late film reports will be penalized 10 points.

Quizzes and examinations. All quizzes will consist of objective questions. Exams (both midterm and final) will be a mixture of objective and essay questions. You must use a blue book for the midterm and final or you will automatically loose 10 points.

Project. One progress report and a final project will be required for this class. A description of the project parameters will be distributed to students later.

Extra credit. Occasionally, invited speakers in Anthropology will make presentations on campus. I will give an extra 5 points to each person who attends these lectures.

Other Important Considerations (READ CAREFULLY!)

Attendance. Attendance to this course is mandatory if you want a passing grade. There will be those instances of unavoidable absence (illness, family business, etc.), but it is the responsibility of the student to notify me in advance of any other type of planned absence.

Tardiness. Each class session begins and ends on time. I really do not appreciate people arriving late or leaving early, especially while I am lecturing. Not only is such behavior rude and disrespectful to me, but is frequently disruptive to the class as a whole. Again, if you know you are going to be late or must leave early for some compelling reason, let me know ahead of time.

Cell Phones and Pagers. Now for my favorite pet peeve. Active cell phones and pagers will not be tolerated during class! They are distracting to me and the other students when they ring in the middle of a lecture.


The following is a proposed outline and reading schedule for this class. The lecture topics may change somewhat according to the pace of the class.

Week 1 The Science of Archaeology and Its History (Chapters 1 and 2). Video: Privy to the Past.

Week 2 Modern Archaeology and the Nature of the Record (Chapters 3 and 4)Video: Mystery of the First Americans.

Week 3 Conducting Field Work and the Classification of Artifacts (Chapters 5 and 6). Demonstration: Stone Tool Replication. Video: Experimental Archaeology at Nakbe, Guatemala.

Quiz 1 on September 26.

Week 4 Determining Time: The Chronology Game (Chapter 7).

Week 5 Bioarchaeology: The Importance of Human Remains (Chapter 8).Videos: The Return of the Iceman, In the Shadow of Vesuvius.

Midterm on October 17; Project progress report due October 20.

Week 6 Environment and Adaptation (Chapter 9).

Week 7 Understanding Past Human Settlement and Subsistence (Chapter 10).

Week 8 Interpreting Past Cultural Systems (Chapter 11). Video: Lost Kingdoms of the Maya.

Quiz 2 on November 7.

Week 9 Understanding Cultural Change (Chapter 12). Final Project due November 17.

Week 10 Cultural Resource Management and Archaeology in the REAL World (Chapters 13, 14).

Final Examination: 8:30 - 11:30, Friday, November 21.