New Fall 2011 Anthropology Course: ANP 362: The Archaeology of Foragers to Farmers

The transition from hunting and gathering to farming has been called on of the “most debated and least understood” topics in archaeology – this topic is also at the heart of Anthropology 362: The Archaeology of Foragers to Farmers. ANP 362 will tackle a selection of the theories, problems, and issues in the study of foraging and farming as adaptive strategies. In this course we will examine human groups who practice foraging, farming, or a mix of both from a global perspective.  We will also look at the transition of groups from foraging to farming, including the origins of agriculture; the concept of low-level food production as it pertains to wild and domestic species; how foragers interact with farmers; and the social and cultural changes that are linked to this transition.  We will rely on archaeological evidence throughout the course, but will also use ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological data in our exploration of this fascinating topic.

ANP 362 will be taught by Mr. Sean Dunham who is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology.  He has a long term interest in subsistence practices and the origins of agriculture.  Mr. Dunham’s dissertation focuses on the interaction of hunter-gatherers and low-level food producers with their environment as well as how their decisions influenced resource use and scheduling (including the use of domestic plants) during the Late Woodland period (AD 600 to AD 1600) in northern Michigan.  He has also previously taught courses in history and anthropology at the University of Minnesota, University of Michigan-Flint, and Lansing Community College in addition to MSU.  Feel free to contact him at for further information.

ANP 362 has a required textbook:   The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory: Why did Foragers become Farmers, by Graeme Barker, Oxford University Press, 2009.  Additional readings and course materials will be made available on ANGEL.