S/M Anth 207 Prehistoric Cultures of North America
SUNY Geneseo
Spring 2014


Instructor: Dr. Paul J. Pacheco

Office:  13 D Sturges Hall    Office Phone: #245-5275

Office Hours:   T 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.; or by appointment

e-mail address: pacheco@geneseo.edu

Library Instructor: Kim D. Hoffman

e-mail address: kdhoffman@geneseo.edu or request an in-person meeting




Description and Objectives:


             In this course we will examine the rich diversity of social structures, political organizations, ecological adaptations, and religious-ideological systems created by the prehistoric cultures of North America.  To achieve our objectives we will look in depth at the following topics: human migrations into the New World and the environmental impact of this migration, Paleo-Indian through Late Prehistoric cultures, maintenance of hunter-gatherer lifestyles, the origin and expansion of food producing economies, and the rise and fall of complex societies. Students will research an important topic in North American prehistory, make a presentation to the class, and write a series of essays, both in and outside of class, which will reinforce class topics.


Learning Outcomes:


(1)           Students will demonstrate knowledge of North American origins through the writing of an in-class essay on the first exam.


(2)           Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of variation in the cultures, religions, political organizations, social structures, and environmental adaptations of prehistoric North Americans in class discussion and through the writing of in-class essays on the final exam.


(3)           Students will demonstrate their comprehension of North American cultural diversity, and cultural issues through development of an outside of class essay.


(4)           Students will demonstrate their ability to communicate their research findings on an important North American site, by presenting their findings orally to the class and by creating a detailed annotated bibliography.



Social Science Core:


 In addition to fulfilling your multi-cultural graduation requirement, this course also fulfills one course in the social science general education requirements. The guidelines for social science core courses stress the development of the following characteristics of a responsible member of society:

(1) an acquaintance with major empirical, analytical, or theoretical approaches to human behavior, institutions or culture;

(2) an acquaintance with social, economic, political, or moral alternatives;

(3) an acquaintance with major problems, issues, institutions, practices or trends in the social world;

(4)  a capacity to express ideas clearly, coherently and grammatically in written form as

one component of the evaluation process. This written work must total at least 1500 words, at least half of which must be prepared outside of class.


Required Texts:


            Thomas, David H.   2000    Skull Wars: Kennewick Man, Archaeology, and the Battle for Native American Identity.  Basic Books (a member of the Perseus Book Group)  ISBN# 0-465-09225-x


All other listed readings will be made available through the mycourses.geneseo.edu webpage as pdf files. 


Course requirements, Grading Procedures, and Important Dates:


Exam 1                                          75 points               March 10thth

Exam 2                                        125 points              May 9th (8-11 A.M.)

Skull Wars Essay                          75 points              Feb. 10th

Annotated Bibliography              100 points              as assigned

Presentation                                 100 points              as assigned

Participation                                 25 points                in class


Grades will be assigned on a percentage basis out of 500 possible as follows:


A  = 100 - 93%                                   C+ = 79.99 - 77%

A- = 92.99% - 90%                            C   =  76.99 - 73%

B+ = 89.99 - 87%                               C - = 72.99 - 67%

B   = 86.99 - 83 %                              D =   66.99 - 57 %

B-  = 82.99 - 80 %                              E =   56.99 - 0 %


                        There will be two non-cumulative exams in this course.  Exams will consist of essays only.  Exams will emphasize your conceptual grasp of the course material and the ability to clearly express your understanding in writing.  Reading assignments are meant to reinforce and compliment the class lectures, images, and provide fodder for class discussions and in no way replace them.   Late assignments will be penalized 5 % per day, cumulative to 25% per week, but your presentation must occur on the day it is scheduled.   You do not need permission, or excuses, to be late with your work, but all late assignments are subject to the penalty for whatever reason. 


Skull Wars Essay:


Archaeologist Brian Fagan once wrote that “if we are ignorant of the past, someone will rewrite it for us.”  Reflect and comment on this statement in relation to issues discussed in Skull Wars Chapters 1-17.  How has the history of interaction between Native American people and their displacers (i.e. primarily people of European descent) shaped the way we approach and think of Native American prehistory?  Creative responses are acceptable and encouraged.


Your paper is required to be 1000 -1050 words long; no exceptions.  In addition to the hard copy turned in the day the essay is due, February 8th, an electronic version of your paper using Microsoft Word should be dropped into the appropriate Anth 207 mycourses.geneseo.edu drop box located under the Course Materials tab by the start of class on the day the paper is due.  Use your last name as the file name for the electronic version of the paper (i.e. adams.doc or manson.docx).  Failure to comply with the word count limits or to drop your essay into the mycourses page results in a 10 point deduction from your essay grade each.  Submitted electronic files will be checked for compliance with the word count limit.  Use normal margins and double-spacing.  Please do not use a font size smaller than 10 point. 


The hard copy of your reaction paper must be stapled to a cover sheet that includes your name, and the title of your essay.  Do not place your name, or the paper title, anywhere but on the cover sheet.  Please include page numbers, but do not number the cover page or citations page (if you include one).  Your paper will be graded on the following five components: format (as outlined above), structure (includes sentence construction and organization), grammar (includes spelling errors and typos), clarity (are your ideas expressed clearly?), and content (are your comments perceptive, have you explored significant issues?).   Please note that this paper functions as part of the writing requirement for Social Science core, which means that grading emphasizes your writing in addition to content.   A bibliography is not necessary if you only refer to sections of the Skull Wars text, however, you should fully credit Thomas when you are quoting or paraphrasing him (i.e. something like Thomas 2000:34).  Likewise, if you reference any other sources, you should include a bibliography.  Any style of referencing is acceptable as long as citations are complete.


Research Project and Presentation:


            Your assignment is research an important topic in North American prehistory which has been assigned to you and a partner.   There are several distinct aspects of this project.  First, you will conduct a thorough literature search.  The literature search will be used to create a detailed annotated bibliography and an informative 20 minute in-class PowerPoint presentation followed by 5 minutes of questions.  


Student presentations begin Week Ten and then run through the end of the course.  Your presentation topic will be decided on Wednesday Jan. 29th   so that is definitely a day to attend.   Please do not read your presentation to us.  Instead try to communicate using no more than note-cards.  Time limits will be strictly enforced so a good presentation will be practiced and timed.   Send a copy of your presentation to me by e-mail if it isn’t too big, bring it to me on a thumb drive, or share it with me using Google Drive no later than 4:00 P.M. the day before your presentation (Monday presentations are due on Sundays).  Use the topic name to name these files (i.e. Meadowcroft.ppt and Meadowcroft.doc).  Failure to meet the 4:00 P.M. deadline will result in a 10 point penalty and failure to present your research on your assigned date will result in a zero for the presentation grade. There is no flexibility once the schedule is set.   


Presentations will be graded on the following:

1) Style – treat this as a professional presentation.

2) Organization and Clarity – create a clear, coherent, logically structured presentation.

3) Information - limit the writing on screens, but provide an informative presentation (classmates can use your outlines for notes).

4) Images - a good PowerPoint presentation consists of high quality images instead of large blocks of writing.  Present your information orally, summarize with bullet points, and concentrate on a well organized stream of images.  

5) References – demonstrate your thorough research and document your sources; all informative text and images used in the presentation must have shorthand references (i.e. Thomas 1992:32) which tie into a full bibliography at the end of the PowerPoint unless they are your own private pictures.


Annotated bibliographies will be due in two stages.  The first draft will be due two weeks before your scheduled in-class presentation, except if your presentation is in week 11, in which case they will be due on March 14th because of Spring Break.  Your bibliographies will be turned in via the mycourses.geneseo.edu website into a designated drop box under the Course Materials tab.  These will be reviewed by Librarian Kim Davies-Hoffman.  She will specifically check the completeness of your entries, the thoroughness and appropriateness of your sources, and whether or not your references are in the appropriate style.  We will be using American Antiquity style for all bibliographic references (note: Kim will be discussing this style during our scheduled visit to the library to meet with her on Feb. 6th).   Kim will return your bibliographies with comments and an initial grade out of a possible 50 points.  Revised annotated bibliographies are due one week after your presentation unless you are presenting the day of Exam 2 (the final).  In that case they will be due the following Monday, May 12th.  A drop box for revised bibliographies will also be created on the mycourses page under Course Materials.  Revised bibliographies will be graded out of another possible 50 points.   Annotations should consist of a concise paragraph providing details about what the source covers.  Please note that it is expected that you will respond to the suggestions made on your first draft.  If you fail to make the suggested changes your score on the final draft will go down.   


  Hard copies of the annotated bibliographies do not need to be submitted. All presentations will be posted in folders under the Course Materials tab on the mycourses webpage for access by your classmates.  




            “SUNY Geneseo will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented physical, emotional or learning disabilities. Students should consult with the Director in the Office of Disability Services (Tabitha Buggie-Hunt, 105D Erwin, tbuggieh@geneseo.edu) and their individual faculty regarding any needed accommodations as early as possible in the semester.”

Class Schedule                                                                                                      Reading:


Week 1   Introduction                                                                                                         


Jan 22nd  - Welcome and Syllabus                                                                                -


Jan 24th  - Perspectives on North American Prehistory                     Thomas Forward & Prologue


Week 2   Intro continued – begin Skull Wars


Jan. 27th   –  Perspectives on Archaeological Research                                   Thomas Ch. 1-2


Jan. 29th  –   Assign and discuss research topics                                            Thomas Ch. 3-6


Jan. 31st   –   Discuss Thomas Ch. 1-11                                                          Thomas Ch. 7-11                                           


Week 3  Skull Wars


Feb. 3rd  – Discuss Thomas Ch. 12-17                                                           Thomas Ch. 12-17


Feb. 5th  –  Research Info Day – meet in Milne 104 with   Kim Hoffman                  -


Feb. 7th  –  Discuss Thomas Ch.  18-24                                          Thomas Ch. 18-24 & Epilogue


Week 4   First Americans


Feb. 10th  –  Timing, Routes of entry/Beringia and NE Asia                        Skull Wars essay due


Feb. 12th -  French connection?                                                              Bradley and Stanford pdf                                                                                                    

Feb. 14th  –  continued – discussion                                                Straus, Meltzer, and Goebel pdf


Week 5  First Americans continued


Feb. 17th  -  Evidence of early sites                                                                                 -


Feb. 19th -  “First Americans” video                                                                               -


Feb. 21st -   Clovis culture                                                                                               -                                                                         


Week 6  First Americans continued


Feb. 24th  -     discussion                                                                Waguespack and Surovell pdf


Feb. 26th  -    Younger Dryas & Extinctions                        Mosimann & Martin and Grayson pdfs


Feb. 28th   –    – video “The Last Extinction – What Killed the Mammoths?”      Firestone et al.

                                                                                                                            and  Broeker pdf s       

Week 7    Post Pleistocene - Late Paleoindians


March 3rd  -       discussion                                                                         Holliday and Meltzer pdf


March 5th  -     Late Paleoindians of the Great Plains                                                        -


March 7th  –      discussion & review                                                                                 -                     


Week 8   Great Basin & Southwest Overviews


March 10th  -    Exam 1                                                                                                     -


March 12th  –    Great Basin Overview                                              Bettinger and Baumhoff  pdf                                                 


March 14th  –    Southwest Overview                                                                                -      


Week 9  Spring Break – No Class   March 17th – March 21st


Week 10   Southwest Overview continued and Great Basin Cultures 


March 24th  -      Food Production  in Southwest                                                   Leonard pdf


March 26th  –   “Range Creek” video & discussion                                                           -             


March 28th  –  Presentations #1 & #2                                                                               -


Week 11    Puebloan Cultures


March 31st  -               Presentations #3 & #4                                                                 Abbot et al.  pdf                            

April 2nd  -    Chaco Canyon                                                                               Renfrew  pdf


April 4th  –    “Cannibalism in the Canyon” video                                                  Lekson  pdf        


Week 12    Puebloan Cultures continued


April 7th -     Southwest Cannibalism & Chaco Discussion                              Billman et al.  pdf


April 9th   -   Late Puebloan Culture                                                                            -


April 11th -   Eastern Woodlands Overview                                                           Smith pdf     


Week 13        Eastern Woodlands Cultures


April 14th –     Presentations #5 & #6                                                                                Brown pdf                                          


April 16th –     Ohio Hopewell                                                                               Dancey pdf


April 18th –     “Secrets of the Moundbuilders” video                                 Pacheco & Dancey pdf


Week 14     Eastern Woodlands continued


April 21st   -  Presentations #7 & #8                                                                                -


April 23rd  -    Hopewell discussion                                                                      DeBoer pdf


April 25th  -  Cahokia and Mississippian culture                                              Benson et al. pdf                                                                          


Week 15     Mississippian and N. Iroquois Cultures


April 28th  –    Presentations #9 & #10                                                                            -


April 30th  –    Presentation #11 & 12                                                                                          -


May 2nd  –      Northern Iroquois origins and culture                                              Snow-a pdf                                                       

Week 16     Iroquois concluded & end of class


May 5th  -   N. Iroquois discussion & review              Crawford and Smith pdf  and  Snow-b pdf


May 9th -  Presentations #13 – 15 & Exam 2                                                   (8:00 – 11:00 A.M.)