Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate a spatial and temporal understanding of the archaeological evidence and the factors that have shaped and continue to shape human history beginning with the dawn of humanity to the decline of some of the earliest civilizations.
  • Students will critically analyze the archaeological evidence used to interpret patterns in prehistory associated with human migrations, origins of agriculture, order in early societies, and the rise and fall of empires across the globe.
  • Students will apply their knowledge about the goals of archaeology, what archaeologists do, and how they do it.


Survey of world prehistory as reconstructed by archaeologists. Human culture history from Stone Age beginnings to establishment and collapse of the world's first major civilizations. Covers societies from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas. Introduction to archaeological methods and interpretation. First use of tools, social complexity, urbanization, domestication of plants and animals, and the rise and fall of civilizations.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. gain knowledge of the origin of human beings as traced to the origin of culture.
B. become familiar with the archaeological evidence that led to the evolution of humans using methods of prehistory, theories of culture growth, and the material evidence of humans.
C. expand important insights into contemporary human behavior.
D. apply analytical, critical thinking and research skills to models and theories of social change.

Course Content

A. Introduction to prehistory and archaeology
B. Methods in prehistory and archaeology
C. Methods of dating organic and inorganic materials
D. Human orgins
1. Hadar
2. Laetoli
3. Swartkrans
4. Olduvai
5. First tools: Oldowan
E. Great Diaspora
1. Homo erectus
2. Zhoukoudian
3. First Europeans
4. Acheulean
F. Cultural beginnings
1. Rise of Homo sapiens
2. Origins of language
3. Neanderthals
4. Lascaux
5. Pleistocenea
6. First Americans
a. Kennewick Man
b. Monte Verde
c. Clovis
G. Complex hunters and gatherers
1. Postglacial foragers
2. Elands Bay
3. Contemporary hunters and gatherers
H. First farmers
1. Origins of agriculture
2. Domestication
3. Paleoethnobotany
4. Staple crops
5. Jericho
6. Archaeozoology
7. Catalhoyuk
8. Pottery
9. Southeast Asia and rice
10. Native Americans and maize
11. Tehuacan
12. Valley of Oaxaca
I. Native North Americans
1. Hopewell
2. Cahokia
3. Monumental architecture
4. Moundville
5. Grave offerings
6. Snaketown
7. Southwest
a. Chaco Canyon
b. Anasazi
8. Chiefs
9. Caribbean
J. Mesoamerica
1. Early state development
2. San Jose Mogote
3. Olmec
a. La Venta
b. San Lorenzo
4. Monte Alban
5. Teotihuacan
6. Maya
a. Tikal
b. Ballgame
c. Calendar
d. Monuments
f. Rise of kings
g. Collapse
h. Chichen Itza
7. Aztec
K. South America
1. Chavin
2. Moche
3. Nazca
4. Tiwanaku
5. Chan Chan
6. Inca
L. Southwest Asia
1. Eridu
2. Uruk
3. Harrappa
M. Africa
1. Egypt
2. Great Zimbabwe
N. Asia
1. China
2. Angkor
O. Europe
1. Iceman
2. Stonehenge
3. Bronze Age
4. Knossos
5. Mycenae
6. Bog people
P. Past as present and future

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Midterm
B. Final examination
C. Oral class reports
D. Written research papers

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Lecture
B. Discussion
C. Cooperative learning exercises
D. Oral presentations
E. Field trips

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Feder, Kenneth. The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Prehistory. 7th ed. Oxford University Press, 2016.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Midterm examination designed to cover the first half of the class with multiple choice questions, short answers, and essay questions.

B. Final examination that is similar and covers the second half of the course.

C. Oral class reports designed to cover the research topic assigned. Each student will formulate a research project and present the results.

D. Written research papers due at the end of the quarter.