University of Notre Dame

Buried Cities, Ancient Tribes: Mysteries of the Past

Course Number: ANTH 13181-2
Instructor: Dr. Mark Golitko

Can the secrets of the past help us understand and solve our problems in the future? This course uncovers the archaeological clues that our ancestors left behind in ruins, abandoned cities, pyramids, and on the earth itself. Drawing on both the archaeological record and methods and theories from other social and physical sciences, we will discuss key issues facing humanity today through the lens of the past. How prone are we as a species to degrading our environment? How flexible are we in the face of environmental change? Are humans basically violent, and are we destined to keep killing each other? Is social and wealth inequality inevitable? These are some of the big questions that can be addressed using the archaeological record. The anthropological and archaeological study of past failure (and success) can help us understand the urgent challenges of our own age.