COVID-19 information and resources
Douglas College wordmark
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Snapchat logo YouTube logo Wordpress logo
back to search

Old World Prehistory

Course Code: ANTH 2212
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Anthropology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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)

Methods of Instruction

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.

course prerequisites

ANTH 1100 OR ANTH 1101 OR ANTH 1111 OR ANTH 1112, or permission of instructor

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.