scroll symbol, Mississippian culture, Moundville, Alabama

Introduction to Archaeology
Course Syllabus

Anth. 220
Fall 2017

Christopher Fennell

globe, hand and eye symbol, Mississippian culture, Moundville, Alabama

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This course provides an introduction to theory and methods in archaeological research, data collection, and analysis. The objective is to familiarize you with the strategies that are employed in the investigation of archaeological remains and how these strategies further the aims of an anthropological archaeology. Grades will be based on two in-class exams, two section quizzes, and weekly assignments.

I have created a course web page for Introduction to Archaeology using the University's Compass program. You can access the course web page by logging onto the Compass system, which will display all existing web pages for your courses. Choose Anth. 220 from the display list and you can access the course syllabus, assignments, lecture notes and illustrations, and other online class resources. The logon page for Compass is available at:

Course Requirements and Policies

Exams, Quizzes, and Assignments

Your grade will be based on your performance on 2 in-class exams, 2 section quizzes, and 10 discussion section homework/exercises:

Graded Component% of Course GradeSchedule
Section Assignments & Labs25Weekly
Quiz 110Sept. 29
Midterm Examination25Oct. 25
Quiz 210Nov. 17
Final Examination30TBA

When taking exams and quizzes and completing written assignments, you will be responsible for knowing the concepts and terms discussed in the assigned readings, in the films shown in class, and in the topics covered in lectures, discussion sections, handouts, and web page or power point summaries. When completing assignments, be careful that you do not plagiarize the works of another; that is, do not present the work or words of another person in a verbatim manner as your own. Consult the UIUC regulations for more information on the hazards of plagiarism, at Assignments handed in late will lose 10% of the possible credit after the class in which they are due, and 10% more for each subsequent day late. No make-ups are provided for missed exams, quizzes, or assignments in the absence of documented and legitimate medical or family emergencies.

Attendance and Participation

Your regular attendance and active participation are of central importance for this course to provide you with both a fun and satisfying educational experience. Good attendance, class preparation, and note-taking practices will be very important for your ability to perform well, particularly on exams and quizzes. Attendence at the lectures and discussion sections is mandatory; three or more unexcused absences will lower your total final grade by 5 final grade points. You can also obtain extra credit by attending a talk or museum exhibit related to archaeology and submitting a two-page essay on the subject in your Discussion Section in accordance with the related guidelines that will be posted on this web page.

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Required Texts

bullet Archaeology: Theories, Methods, and Practice, by Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn (Thames & Hudson, 7th ed. 2016).

This text is available at the University bookstores and can also be obtained from other vendors of your choosing. You could also use the 5th or 6th editions, and I will place a few copies of these on reserve in the undergraduate library.

bullet Other required or suggested readings may consist of short articles or text excerpts that provide additional information related to the subjects we are covering in our main textbook. These articles will be available online in the course web page on Compass.

Machu Picchu at the Field Museum
[Machu Picchu, in the Peruvian Andes]

Class Meeting Times and Locations:

The class meets as an entire group on Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00am to 11:50am in Room 259 in the English Building, and in smaller Discussion Sections on Fridays in Room 116 in Davenport Hall (Section 1, 9:00am to 9:50am; Section 2, 10:00am to 10:50am; and Section 3, 11:00am to 11:50am).

Course Instructor: Chris Fennell, office in 296 Davenport Hall, cell phone (312) 513-2683; email; office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30pm to 3:00pm. Discussion Section Instructor and Teaching Assistant: TBA.

Class Schedule and Readings:

Week 1.  Aug. 28, 30 & Sept. 1.    Overview & Introduction to Course
    Introductory comments and overview of structure of course.
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Introduction.
    Discussion section, Sept. 1: Discussion section organizational meeting.

Labor Day break! Sept. 4.

Week 2.  Sept. 6 & 8.    History of the Discipline; Archaeology as Anthropology
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 1.
    Discussion section, Sept. 8: History of archaeology.

Excavating a common house floor at the Cahokia site  projectile points, circa 600AD to 800AD

Week 3.  Sept. 11, 13 & 15.    Archaeological Data and Contexts
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 2.
    Discussion section, Sept. 15: Time Team America: New Philadelphia.

Week 4.  Sept. 18, 20 & 22.    Site Reconnaissance, Surveys & Excavations
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 3.
    Discussion section, Sept. 22: Investigating sites; Khina Ethnoarchaeology Handout.

Week 5.  Sept. 25, 27 & 29.    Advances in Archaeological Survey Methods; Quiz 1
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 3 (cont'd).
    Discussion section, Sept. 29: Quiz 1.

Cahokia mounds and woodhenge
[Cahokia, circa 1100 AD]

Week 6.  Oct. 2, 4 & 6.    Dating and Chronologies
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 4.
    Discussion section, Oct. 6: Artifact Identification Lab.

Week 7.  Oct. 9, 11 & 13.    Archaeology of Social Complexity
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 5.
    Discussion section, Oct. 13: Power, Prestige and Wealth: China's Terra Cotta Warriors.

Week 8.  Oct. 16, 18 & 20.    Past Environments
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 6.
    Discussion section, Oct. 20: Review session for Midterm Exam.

Week 9.  Oct. 23, 25 & 27.    Subsistence and Diet; Midterm Exam
    Midterm Exam, Oct. 25.
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 7.
    Discussion section, Oct. 27: Roman stratigraphy; Barchester Handout.

Week 10.  Oct. 30, Nov. 1 & 3.    Technologies
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 8.
    Discussion section, Nov. 3: Tree of Iron.

great pyramid and sphinx at Giza
[Pyramid and Sphinx, Giza]
Parthenon, Athens
[Parthenon, Athens]
Week 11.  Nov. 6, 8 & 10.    Trade & Exchange
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 9.
    Discussion section, Nov. 10: Trade and Exchange: Occaneechi Town.

Week 12.  Nov. 13, 15 & 17.    Ideology, Symbolism & Cognitive Approaches; Quiz 2
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 10.
    Discussion section, Nov. 17: Quiz 2.

Thanksgiving break! Nov. 18-26.

Week 13.  Nov. 27, 29 & Dec. 1.    Archaeology of People and Physiologies
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapter 11.
    Discussion section, Dec. 1: Iceman Murder Mystery.

Week 14.  Dec. 4, 6 & 8.    Explanation and Interpretation in Archaeology
    Readings: Renfrew & Bahn Chapters 12 & 13.
    Discussion section, Dec. 8: Debates, Interpretations & Ethics: Assignment TBA.

Week 15.  Dec. 11 & 13.    Future of the Past & Who Owns the Past?