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 Canada, the United States, Egypt, and the Sudan, Ethan Watrall is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Director of MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University. Ethan also serves as an Adjunct Curator of Archaeology at the Michigan State University Museum. In addition, Ethan is Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative and the Digital Heritage Fieldschool in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University. He is also Director of the Department of Anthropology’s Digital Heritage Imaging & Innovation Lab (which is a partnership between the Department of Anthropology and The Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research)

Ethan’s scholarship focuses on the application of digital methods and computational approaches within archaeology and heritage. This focus expresses itself broadly in three domains: (1) publicly engaged digital heritage and archaeology; (2) digital documentation and preservation of tangible heritage and archaeological materials; and (3) building capacity and communities of practice in digital heritage and archaeology. The thematic thread that binds these domains together is one of preservation and access – leveraging digital methods and computational approaches to preserve and provide access to archaeological and heritage materials, collections, knowledge, and data in order to facilitate research, advance knowledge, fuel interpretation, and democratize understanding and appreciation of the past.