1. Neanderthals were originally thought of as semi-human brutes, a missing link incapable of the kind of creativity and thought that characterizes fully modern humans. This view has changed dramatically with new archaeological and scientific data, including the study of Neanderthal DNA. For this essay, address the question, how were Neanderthals similar to and different from modern humans? Be sure to consider both archaeological evidence for cultural practices like deliberate burial and the use of jewelry, as well as more recent bioarchaeological and DNA
studies that shed light on the ancestral connections between
Neanderthals and modern humans.
2. The search for the origins of agriculture, pastoralism and settled
life forms one of the central themes of anthropological archaeology.
Some argue that population pressure drove people to begin producing food; others argue for a kind of co-evolution or risk management strategy where slow experimentation resulted in domestication; and finally some suggest that social pressures to produce food for feasting and other activities that would enhance an individual’s prestige drove the process. For this paper compare and contrast the origins of agriculture in Mesoamerica and EITHER South America or the Far East. Make sure to include a discussion of the logic behind each model, and consider how well each applies to each region.
3. Pristine states were characterized by highly centralized and integrated governments. The masses were led or ruled by a very small minority within society. Examine how elites managed and manipulated social/ideological, economic, and coercive sources to gain political power. For this paper, compare and contrast Mesopotamian and EITHER Mayan or Roman civilization with respect to the presence and use of each of the sources of power. Particular states may have emphasized some sources over others. Why do you think they did so? Make sure to include discussions of each source of power: social/ideological, economic, military, and political. You may also want to discuss and compare the concept of political economy in each of the two states.