Cuneiform writing on a Sumerian tablet
The Emergence of Civilizations
Anthropology 341.2 - Sonoma State University - Fall 2006
Tu-Th 2:30-3:45, Stevenson 3008
Taught by Dr. Bruce Owen
Updated December 6
This is a PREVIOUS SEMESTER'S website
Some items are obsolete or no longer available.
Click here for SSU's list of current class web pages
Click here for Bruce Owen's general web page, including old class pages

Click for assigned readings Click for virtual handouts Click for links to related web sites Click to email Bruce Owen

What's posted here?

  • Assigned readings: All the assigned readings will be posted here, as well as lecture notes and graphics. Some people print the the lecture notes and bring them to class to add their own comments, rather than trying to write everything down. The notes are useful study aids and sources for written assignments, but they may not be completely intelligible if you are not already familiar with the material. They are no substitute for studying the assigned readings and attending class. I will add additional items every week or so.

    So why come to lectures?

    First, hearing me explain the notes and slides will be far clearer than trying to figure them out without help. Second, numerous studies show that you understand adn remember things better if you get the information in various different ways, like reading, hearing, and seeing. Third, you can ask questions, and listen as others ask questions that you might not have thought of. Finally, I fill in details, explain arguments, and highlight the important points, which should make it easier to see the big picture rather than getting lost in the details.

  • Virtual Handouts: The syllabus, assignment information, study guides, and so on.

  • Links: Links to other web pages about subjects we cover. These are completely optional, but may help you study or pursue questions raised by the course. Many have good photos or maps that add a visual element to the readings. All are highly recommended, and many are fun.

  • Email: Click the "email" button to ask me a question or make a comment, to submit a draft for me to review, or to turn in the computer version of an assignment. If you are not using your own computer, be sure to include your email address so I can reply.

  • Everything on this site has been scanned for viruses and is safe to the best of my knowledge.

Assigned readings

Read the assignments before the class session. Scroll down to see more. The readings and class notes are in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format and should open in a new window. Move it aside or close it to see this one again. Most computers will open PDF files automatically to view, save, or print. If yours won't, download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader plugin for your browser.

Click to go to the free Adobe Acrobat Reader download page

"Slides" are the Powerpoint pictures and text you see in class. They do not include all the information in the notes. Recent browsers open these files automatically. Navigate with PageUp, PageDown, RightArrow, LeftArrow, Home, End, and the scroll bar. Close the window to quit. Some browsers may download the file. Double-click the file to open it with Powerpoint. If your computer does not have Powerpoint, download the free Powerpoint viewer for Windows or for Macintosh. Some files are large and may take many minutes to download. They may be impractical if you have a telephone modem.

Password: Due to copyright restrictions, many items require the class user ID and password. These are different from your Peoplesoft ID and password. If you can't recall them, email me.
Be patient: Some items may take many seconds or even minutes to load, especially with a telephone modem.


Click on the Handout that you want. If you have been here before, press your browser's "reload" button to see the latest additions.

Sites and Civilizations

Interesting, illustrated, easy, optional... check these out. If you have been here before, press your browser's "reload" button to see the latest additions.

  • Origins of Agriculture: An excellent, accessible review for the Near East. For this class, check out the Natufian and Pre-Pottery Neolithic A sections.

  • Çatal Hüyük Newsletter: Current research at the coolest town of the Neolithic world. Click the "News" item on the "News" menu. Start with the latest press release, then check out the Çatal newsletters.

  • Çatal Hüyük popular review article: Ian Hodder describes the site and current thinking about it

  • Virtual museum of Çatal Hüyük: Almost comic-book approach leads quickly to good images and information. Fun and worthwhile.

  • Lost treasures of Iraq: Pictures of spectacular Mesopotamian artifacts from Iraq's National Museum, some of which were lost in the post-war looting, organized by type of object.

  • Artifacts from the National Museum of Iraq: A different set of pictures of spectacular Mesopotamian artifacts from Iraq's National Museum, some of which were lost in the post-war looting, organized by time period.

  • The Royal Tombs at Ur: Incredible artifacts buried with a Sumerian queen

  • Early Dynastic and Predynastic Egypt: Excellent (but detailed) syntheses of the crucial early periods; great pictures of artifacts and early hieroglyphs with translations. If you use AOL and can't access this site, open Internet Explorer or Netscape from the Start button menu, navigate to this class web page, and try the link again

  • Digital Egypt: Predynastic and on. Click around for lots of good pictures and up-to-date but brief info

  • History of Egypt, starting with the Predynastic. Good synthesis and pictures

  • Old Kingdom Egypt: A visual tour of the step pyramid of Djoser

  • The Indus region: Photos, 3D views, reconstructions, concise essays and new research findings; excellent presentation

  • China: Pictures and brief summaries of periods, objects, and themes. "Late Prehistoric" and "Bronze Age" periods are most relevant to this class

  • Chavín de Huántar: Explore the site, including the internal galleries, in photographic virtual reality -- this is really fun
    You will need to download and install a browser plugin. Click on the "Realspace" viewer link at the bottom of the Chavín page. On the next page, click on "Zoom Viewer Plugin" ("Realspace" has been renamed). On the next page, click on the words "Get Zoom Viewer" hidden among the graphics. Then click on the Zoom Viewer Plugin (Windows or Mac version) from the list of choices. Don't pick the Zoom Server. The web site will ask for your email address. Make one up unless you want to get junk email. Your browser may ask if you want to run the program or save it to your disk. Either way, downloading will take a while. If you chose to run it, the installer will start automatically. If you chose to save it, find the file on your hard disk and double-click it to start the installer. The installer will ask you to accept some default values, and will then install the viewer. At last, you can go to the Chavín web page and explore the site.

    Once there, be patient; each view takes a little while to download, but then works smoothly. Hold the left button down and move the mouse to look side to side and up and down. Press the spacebar to make "hot" points appear. Click on a hot point to move to that point or see the object there. Zoom in and out with "Ctrl" and "Shift". Check it out!

  • ArchNet: An index of quality archaeological web sites. Highly recommended. Be sure to check the "new and uncategorized" section for lots of recent additions

  • Anthropology in the News. Links to the latest finds, discoveries, and controversies in archaeology, biological anthro, cultural anthro, and linguistics. Updated frequently.

Take a break and do something different!

I guarantee that you will have fun visiting this place. This is not virtual, it is real. You will have to drive, but it is well worth it. The archaeological parts are great, and the setting is a cultural experience.

  • The Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose: Incredible Egyptian and Mesopotamian artifacts, even buildings, well displayed and explained, plus a wild mystical spin that you won't believe.

The Emergence of Civilizations by Bruce Owen
Copyright (c) 2006, Bruce Owen. All rights reserved.
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Revised: 6 December 2006