Anthropology 325 - World Prehistory S 2000

Final Exam Study Guide

The final exam will cover material from class and from both textbooks. Some of the questions will be from this list. Others may not, but will be similar. Answers should be clear and specific, but should not take more than about 10 minutes to write. Some may take less.

  1. Describe at least three kinds of megalithic constructions from neolithic and/or bronze age Europe. What kind of societies built them, and what were the various types used for?
  2. What were some of the social and technological innovations of the 'Ubaid and Uruk periods in Sumer? Why were they significant, and how were they interrelated?
  3. How is writing thought to have developed in Sumer?
  4. Describe the Royal burials at Ur, some of the things that can be inferred from them, and the outlines of the society that produced them.
  5. Contrast Upper and Lower Egypt in the late Predynastic period (Naqada I, II, and III). Why are these differences interesting, and what happened to the two areas around the end of this period?
  6. What evidence is there for contact between Mesopotamia and Egypt during Egypt's late Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods? What was the nature of this contact, and what roles might this contact have played in the development of complex society in the two regions?
  7. What evidence is there for the supposed unification of Egypt around 3100 BC?
  8. Outline the development of Egyptian high status burial practices from Naqada II through the great pyramids of Giza.
  9. Describe the Minoan society of Crete, including a few of its notable unusual features.
  10. Describe the society that produced the site of Great Zimbabwe, and discuss the economic factors thought to have made it possible.
  11. What features make Chaco Canyon and other Anasazi settlements particularly impressive and interesting?
  12. Someone at a post-semester party comments that while you see plenty of documentaries about interesting ruins in Egypt, the Near East, and even Mexico, there is nothing like that to study in the USA. What do you tell them? (Assume that you have recently studied for this final, and have not begun drinking yet!)
  13. What were the Olmec heads all about? What kind of society produced them, and what kind of setting were they found in?
  14. Compare and contrast the city of Teotihuacan and a typical Maya city such as Tikal.
  15. Compare and contrast the evidence concerning the end of the florescence of Olmec society, Teotihuacan, the Classic Maya in the central Maya lowlands, and the Aztecs.
  16. Describe the early monumental architecture of the Andes, and contrast the structures and their social roles with the temples of Mesopotamia and the pyramids of Egypt.
  17. What are some of the features of Andean prehistory that seem significantly different from that of the Old World?
  18. Pick two interesting cases of frauds, fakes, or myths about archaeology, explain the claims, and debunk them as appropriate.


There may also be some "objective" questions involving matching, fill-in-the-blanks, etc. They will focus on major terms, features, and rough chronology, not arcane details. For example:

  1. The earliest known writing system was developed in ____________. (There are several geographical terms that would be correct.)
  2. Match the following cultures and notable features (some may have more than one match):
    Sumer __ a. Ceremonial sites with pools, drains, fountains, and statuary
    Olmec __ b. "Apartment blocks" laid out in a grid plan
    Minoan __ c. Woodhenges
    Chavin __ d. Temples with large storage areas and craft workshops attached
    Mississippian __ e. Military conquest commemorated on a stone palette
    Teotihuacan __ f. A maze of internal corridors with a fanged statue at the center
    Anasazi __ g. A dance or sport involving jumping over a charging bull
    Egypt __ h. Subterranean circular ceremonial rooms entered from the roof
    Great Zimbabwe __ i. Tall stone walls enclosing round high-status residence complexes
    j. Earthen platform mounds with large wooden structures on top
    k. Separate temple and palace institutions
  3. Put these cultures in chronological order:
    1. (first; oldest) __________________ a. Minoan Crete
    2. _____________________________ b. Great Zimbabwe
    3. (last, most recent) ______________ c. Old Kingdom Egypt