Take Home Final Exam

Hey folks – as we talked about week, I’ve decided to give you a take home essay exam.  This will give you an opportunity to digest the things we’ve talked about, do some synthesis, and be a little more thoughtful about what you write than you might normally be able to do in a traditional exam. I’m looking for thoughtful and detailed essays that show you’ve absorbed the materials we’ve covered in class.  I’m particularly interested in seeing that you are able to synthesize that information.

For the exam, write an essay length response on any two of the following questions:

  1. Its clear that the decline & collapse of ancient states has been a common theme throughout the semester.  Describe and discuss the factors that you consider to be most important in a state’s decline and collapse.  Be sure to provide detailed examples to support and illustrate your discussion.
  2. At the beginning of the semester, we discussed a number of primary characteristics used to identify ancient states (and to differentiate states from non-states).  Choose four of these characteristics and discuss in direct relation to the ancient states we covered in class.  Be detailed and specific in your discussion.
  3. Discuss and describe the role that trade & economy (at all scales) plays in ancient states.  Be sure to provide detailed examples to support and illustrate your discussion.
  4. Discuss and describe the role that ideology (and associated ritual) plays in ancient states.  Be sure to provide detailed examples to support and illustrate your discussion.

The exam should me sent to me via email (as a PDF, not a Word document) no later than May 2nd by 5pm (after which it will be considered late and start incurring standard late penalties). The exam should have your name and PID on every page and be double spaced. In addition, be sure to note the question number at the beginning of each essay.

BONUS: I’ve decided to offer a bonus for this exam. Students can choose to write on a third exam question to get an additional possible 15% bonus on their final grade. If students choose to take advantage of this bonus, they can include it in the same file as the final exam’s regular two questions. Which question is the bonus MUST be be clearly marked as such (by putting “Bonus Question” or some such at the beginning of the questions)

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About Ethan Watrall

An anthropological archaeologist who has worked in North America and the Near East, Ethan Watrall is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Director of MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University. In addition, Ethan is Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative and the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool at Michigan State University. Currently, Ethan is Co-PI of the NEH funded ARCS: Archaeological Resource Cataloguing System project, Director of the NEH funded Institute for Digital Archaeological Method and Practice, and Co-PI of the NEH funded Archive of Malian Photography project. Ethan’s interest primarily fall in the domain of digital public archaeology and heritage, with particular interest in mobile digital public heritage and digital heritage mapping for public outreach and engagement. Ethan is co-editor of Archaeology 2.0: New Tools for Communication and Collaboration, an open access volume published by the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.