About the Class

ANP363: Rise of Civilizations is a survey course designed to introduce students to the archaeological evidence for the appearance and development of early civilizations.  Emphasis will be placed on exploring the nature of complex societies and the comparative evolution of early states.


This class adheres to the philosophy of open courseware and open access.  As such, all course materials are open and accessible to the public.  This includes some of the assignments – specifically the blog posts.  As such, students should think of themselves as not just taking a class, but as contributing to the pool of scholarship on archaeology and ancient states.  This also means that students need to think about how you want to license your work (aka. how you would like other people to be able to use your work).

When students post to the course website, they will be able to choose a specific Creative Commons license.  Each license (there are 6 to choose from) gives the author a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work.

When posting to the blog, authors can choose the specific Creative Commons license they want for their work.


Be sure to review the Creative Commons licenses – think about which one works best for you.

It is very important to note any student (at any time during or after the semester) can opt not to have their class materials be open access.  Just talk to Ethan, and he’ll make it happen immediately.  Its equally important to note that any student who chooses to do this will not be penalized in any way at all.  The content you produce for this class belongs to you, and you have total control over how it lives out in the wider world.


We won’t be using ANGEL that much during class.  All of your written assignments are done online (Wiki or the course blog), so there is nothing to “hand in” on ANGEL.  Also, all of the course announcements & discussions that you might normally find on ANGEL happen on the course blog — which is why you will always need to keep you eye on the blog (you might want to think about subscribing to the course RSS feed).  The only real thing that we’ll be using ANGEL for is the class gradebook.  You’ll be able to use it to see your grades (if you see something amiss with your grades, be sure to email Ethan ASAP)


This class (casually) takes advantage of Twitter to to extend the class conversation beyond the walls of the classroom and to connect students with each other (as well as the professor).  All you need to do is go to  http://www.twitter.com, sign up for an account (if you don’t already have one), and then follow http://twitter.com/captain_primate/ (Ethan – your professor). The class will be using the #anp363ss13 hashtag.


Blogs & blogging is a big part of this class.  Students are going to be using a blog (this site, in fact) to do some of your class assignments (check out the Assignments & Grading section of the site for more info on that).  Also, the course blog is going to be the primary way how your professor a will be communicating with you (outside of class).  All class announcements, info, etc. will be posted on the blog.  This means you’ll always need to keep your eye on the blog. because of this, students might want to ythink about subscribing to the course RSS feed


Instead of physically handing in written assignments (or sending a PDF), the formal written work for this class (aka. the exam #2 alternative paper) will live on a class wiki. A wiki is esentially platform that allows for collaborative document editing (Wikipedia is a wiki).  Just like the course website, the class wiki (which can be found here) is completely open access.

As the semester moves closer to when students will be putting stuff on the class wiki, a video tutorial will go up on course website.


All students are required to sign up for a Gravatar account (http://en.gravatar.com/). A Gravatar (globally recognized avatar) is a profile image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog.  To get an account, just go to the Gravatar website, and sign up using your MSU email (using your MSU email is key).  If you’ve already got a Gravatar, you are welcome to use it (or create a separate one for the class if you want – its totally up to you).


There is one required textbook for  this class:

Patterns in Prehistory
Robert J. Wenke and Deborah Olszewski
(Oxford University Press, 5th edition, 2007)

You can buy the book from Amazon (its a little cheaper than buying it from the university bookstore).

In addition to the required textbook, electronic readings will be assigned throughout the semester. Some of the readings will by downloadable PDFs (from the course website), some will be available through the MSU Library Electronic Resources System. Refer to the Schedule for reading assignments.

It is extremely important to remember that all readings are mandatory for the class, and must be completed. Reading assignments will be included on the semester’s exams.


Due dates are not negotiable. All assignments are to be submitted on their specific due date (refer to weekly schedule for exact due dates) If you know ahead of time that you are going to be away from a computer with an assignment is due, it is your responsibility to submit it before the due date if you don’t want to be penalized.

Only under extreme (and documentable) circumstances will students be allowed to submit assignments after the due date without being penalized. Students who do not submit any of their assignments will be docked 15% for each 24 hour period for which it is late.


When completing their formal writing assignments, students MUST use APA style and formatting.  If you are unfamiliar with APA style and formatting, check out this website.


In accordance with Michigan State University’s policies on “Protection of Scholarship and Grades” and “Integrity of Scholarship and Grades,” students are expected to honor principles of truth and honesty in their academic work. Academic integrity means, amongst other things, not plagiarizing. Plagiarism includes submitting someone else’s work (words, ideas, etc.) as their own now will the knowingly permit another student to copy and submit their work. Additional discussion of academic integrity is available on the Ombudsman’s website: http://www.msu.edu/unit/ombud/dishonestystud.html.


Article 2.3.5 of the Academic Freedom Report (AFR) for students at Michigan State University states: “The student’s behavior in the classroom shall be conducive to the teaching and learning process for all concerned.” Article 2.3.10 of the AFR states that “The student has a right to scholarly relationships with faculty based on mutual trust and civility.” General Student Regulation 5.02 states: “No student shall . . . interfere with the functions and services of the University (for example, but not limited to, classes . . .) such that the function or service is obstructed or disrupted.

Students whose conduct adversely affects the learning environment in this classroom may be subject to disciplinary action through the Student Faculty Judiciary process.”


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at rcpd.msu.edu. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc). Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

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