Old World Prehistory

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
ANTH 2212
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
A survey of cultural developments in Africa, Europe and Asia from the hunting-gathering societies of the Upper Palaeolithic 40,000 years ago to the development of Bronze Age states and chiefdoms in these regions beginning 5,500 years ago.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
    • Background to the Old World (geography; review of human biological evolution).
  2. Upper Palaeolithic
    • Exploration of the origin and timing of modern behaviour and hunter-gatherer lifeways during the late Pleistocene
  3. Environmental transitions at the end of the Pleistocene/early Holocene and the impact of these transitions on hunter-gatherer life ways
  4. Mesolithic Cultures in Africa, Europe and Asia
  5. Neolithic Cultures
    • theories for the origins of agriculture and the transition from hunting-gathering to farming societies
  6. Later Neolithic Societies
    • theories for the origins of chiefdoms
  7. Primary States
    • Theories for the rise of states with a focus on early states in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, China, Indus Valley, Southeast Asia, Mediterranean
  8. The evolution of Secondary States and Empires (e.g. Assyria, Minoan, Mycenaean, Imperial Rome, Kush, Meroe, Aksum, Angkor, Qin)
Learning Activities

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:  lecture, relevant films, slides and in-class discussions.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will follow Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. 

An example of a possible evaluation schedule might be:

Exam 1   30%
Exam 2   30%
Exam 3   10%
Research Essay/Presentation       30%
Total 100%


Learning Outcomes

The main objective of the course is to provide the student with the opportunity to gain knowledge and an understanding of the prehistory of the Old World.  At the conclusion of the course, the student will demonstrate an understanding of the basic archaeological theories for explaining general cultural evolution using Old World examples.  Students will be able to articulate the difference between hunter-gathers, farmers, and states based on the archaeological evidence currently known from Africa, Europe and Asia.  Students will provide evidence of their ability to conduct library and internet research on course-relevant topics in written work and oral presentation.

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

Texts will be updated periodically. A typical example is:

Fagan, Brian

2010    People of the Earth An Introduction to World Prehistory.  Prentice Hall, New Jersey.


Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for ANTH 2212
Langara College (LANG) LANG ANTH 2XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU ARCH 272 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ANTH 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU ANTH 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ANTH 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ANTH 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ANTH 212 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV ANTH 1XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC ANTH 2XX (1.5)

Course Offerings

Winter 2023