Maricopa Community Colleges  ASB226   20052-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 12-14-2004

ASB226  2005 Spring – 2011 Fall

LEC  3.0 Credit(s)  3.0 Period(s)  3.0 Load  Acad

Human Impacts on Ancient Environments

Interrelationship between humans and their environments, using archaeological data and case studies beginning with early hominids. Uses of research to identify environmental change and distinguish between climatic and human-induced global change. Explores ways in which prehistoric people caused and responded to environmental changes

Prerequisites: None.

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


ASB226  2005 Spring – 2011 Fall

Human Impacts on Ancient Environments



Identify and describe the sub-fields of anthropology. (I)


Identify and explain common Western and non-Western attitudes about the physical environment. (II)


Identify and explain the theories and concepts that define some of the basic operating principles of nature (III)


Identify and explain the interaction between humans and the environment (IV)


Describe methodologies employed in environmental and cultural reconstruction (V)


Describe the impact of early hominids on their physical environments. (VI)


Describe the impact of Paleolithic humans on their physical environments. (VII)


Describe the origins of agriculture in the Neolithic period and its impact on the physical environment. (VIII)


Describe the impact of early agriculture on the environment. (IX)


Explain how complex societies have affected the global environment. (X)


Describe how loss of habitat affects culture. (XI)


Explain how changes in human population affect human health and the physical environment. (XII)


Identify and analyze lessons learned throughout history about human impact on the environment. (XIII)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


ASB226  2005 Spring – 2011 Fall

Human Impacts on Ancient Environments


I. Fundamentals of Anthropology

A. Sub-fields of Anthropology: cultural, biological, archaeology

B. Issues and recurring themes

II. Attitudes and Thinking About the Environment

A. Western attitudes

B. Non-western attitudes

III. Theoretical Orientations

A. Environmental Determinism

B. Culture Area concept

C. Cultural Ecology and Ecosystem

D. Systems Theory

IV. Human-Environmental Interaction

A. Abiotic and biotic components

B. Ecosystems

C. Components of the environment

D. Human-decision making

V. Methodology

A. Paleonvironmental Reconstruction and GeoArchaeology

B. Stratigraphy, Dating, Sampling

C. Cultural Reconstruction-Diet, Land Use

VI. Early Hominds and First Impacts

A. Large Mammal extinctions

B. Development of modern humans and culture change

VII. Paleolithic Period and Impacts on Environment

A. Cultural phases

B. Faunal Data

C. Carrying capacity

VIII. Origins of Agriculture

A. Soils, plant systems and pollen analysis

B. Neolithic and Near East examples

C. Consequences of agriculture (e.g, sedentism, storage, etc.)

IX. Early Agriculture and its impacts

A. Population growth and density, sedentism, environmental change

B. Case Studies: Europe and Northern Mediterranean, Meso America, North American Southwest

X. Complex Societies

A. Role of complex society in adaptation

B. Cultural impacts on landscape

C. Case Studies: e.g., Mesopotamia, Africa, Maya, Moche, Near East, China, India

XI. Loss of Habitat and Biodiversity

A. Landscape change, faunal extinction, and settlement patterns

B. Case Studies: e.g., Oceania, Greenland, Easter Island

XII. Demography and Population

A. Population growth

B. Changing community health

C. Emerging industry

D. New forms of government

XIII. Lessons from the Past

A. Ecology in the long view

B. Application to modern issues


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