This seminar reviews complex societies in northern Mesopotamia (northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, and southeastern Turkey) from the Late Chalcolithic to the Iron Age (ca. 4200-600 BC). The focus will be on recent archaeological research on issues of broad interest to anthropological archaeology.
Ancient Mesopotamia was the world’s first literate urban civilization. This class will examine the origins and evolution of cities, temples, and government from two complimentary perspectives: the archaeological record and cuneiform inscriptions in translation. Activities will include visits to museum collections (Peabody, Semitic Museum, Boston MFA), hands-on experience with creating cuneiform tablets, and virtual tours of southern Iraq using satellite imagery.
A comprehensive introduction to the practice of archaeology and major themes from our human past: How do archaeologists know where to dig? How do we analyze and understand what we find? What do we know about the origins of the human species, agriculture, cities, and civilization? The course integrates methods and theory, and utilizes Peabody Museum collections, to show how we reconstruct ancient diet, trade, and political systems. We also explore the role of archaeology in colonialism, modern politics, and film. Instructors Jason Ur and Matthew Liebmann
This course aims to provide a basic understanding of how remote sensing data (satellite imagery and aerial photographs) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used to visualize and analyze archaeological data. Students will learn basic techniques for acquiring, manipulating and creating geospatial data in several forms, from pixel-based satellite imagery and digital terrain models to point, line and polygon representation of archaeological data. Each week, these techniques will be applied to sample archaeological data, and also to data from a region of interest to and chosen by...
The world’s first cities emerged in Mesopotamia and were the defining characteristic of ancient civilizations in what is today Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. They were inhabited by large populations, powerful kings, and the gods themselves. The course will consider the origins, ecology, spatial arrangement, socioeconomic organization, religious institutions, and collapse of cities from Gilgamesh to Saddam. Through archaeology and ancient texts, students will become familiar with cities such as Uruk, Babylon, Nineveh, and Baghdad.
Archaeology has focused traditionally on excavations of settlement sites. However, no settlement existed as an island; ancient peoples moved within a larger environment which constrained their actions while it was simultaneously transformed by them. This course investigates the relationship between ancient societies and their landscapes. We review the ways in which ancient "off-site" activities are preserved in the landscape and how archaeologists identify and document them. We discuss the exploitation of the landscape for agriculture, pastoralism, and industry (... Read more about Anthropology 1150: Ancient Landscapes
Basic archaeological research increasingly includes approaches to spatial patterning in human societies, including the structure of settlements, the regional distribution of populations, and their relationships to their landscapes. This seminar will consider how variation in settlement and settlement systems can be related to factors such as environment, economy, and social and political organization. Case studies will be drawn from a range of New and Old World societies of varying scales of sociopolitical complexity.