South American Prehistory (ARC2115)

StaffDr Marisa Lazzari - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module will include a discussion of the different forms of social and political organization from the earliest villages to the development of states and empires. It will examine the different interpretations of cultural change by looking at new and traditional controversies, current research trends, and newest discoveries.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Know the key features of cultural history and development in prehistoric South America and the range of archaeological theoretical and interpretative perspectives. Understand the character and complexity of indigenous South American societies, lifestyles, and social and political organisations.
  • 2. Assess the kinds of datasets commonly encountered in South American and central Andean archaeology, comprised of many categories of material culture spread over varied ecological zones
  • 3. be aware of the different scales of social and political organisation and how they are expressed in the archaeological record.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. ability to research a topic guided by a reading list
  • 5. understand and interpret archaeological information from a range of sources
  • 6. ability to organise such information synthetically in order to addresses key thematic issues

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. self-reflect on progress within a co-operative group environment
  • 8. learn from peers, both giving and receiving constructive criticism
  • 9. contribute to group presentations using appropriate visual aids

Syllabus plan

Geography of South America; the first South Americans; diversity of post-Pleistocene lifeways: agricultural origins, the rise of sedentism and complexity; the emergence of large scale, politically complex societies in the Central Andes; Initial Period monumental architecture; Early Horizon: the Chavin Cult; Early Intermediate regional formations: the Moche; Middle Horizon expansive military states: Wari and Tiwanaku; Late Intermediate empires: the Chimu; the ultimate empire: the Inca; European conquest: crisis and transformations.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities16Lectures (8x2hr)
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2Seminars (2x1hr)
Scheduled learning and teaching activities1Tutorial
Guided independent study131Private study

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay602000 word1-9Verbal and Written feedback
Illustrated poster40up to 1000 words1-9Verbal and Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-9ref/def period
PosterPoster1-9ref/def period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bruhns, K. 1994 Ancient South Americans. Cambridge University Press. New York. Burger, R. L. 1995 Chavin and the Origins of Andean Civilization. Thames and Hudson. New York. Moseley, M. 1997 The Incas and Their Ancestors. Thames and Hudson. New York. Piperno, D. R. and Pearsall, D. M. 1998 The Origins of Agriculture in the Lowland Tropics. Academic Press. New York. Richardson, J. B. 1994. People of the Andes. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington D.C. Salomon, F. and Schwartz, S. B. (eds.) 1999 The Cambridge History of Native Peoples of the Americas. Vol III. South America. Part 1. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. Wilson, J. W. 1999 Indigenous South Americans of the Past and Present. Westview Press. Boulder, Colorado.

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Key words search

Prehistory, South America