118TS - Archaeology of the Ancient Near East


Brief Introduction

Archaeological and historical evidence is used to trace the development of various ancient Near Eastern cultures, with a major focus on the Levant as a crossroads of Near Eastern civilizations. The origins of settled life and agriculture in the Levant and rise of the first civilizations in the Fertile Crescent provide the focus of the first half of the course. The second half covers the development of the great empires of Egypt, the Hittites, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia, ending with the Hellenistic era brought about by the conquest of Alexander the Great in c. 300 BCE.

The emphasis throughout is on the political, social, religious, and economic systems that allowed these great civilizations to flourish, along with the institutions and values that made up the fabric of daily life. The relationships and interaction between the various cultures are stressed, and the similarities, differences, and possible influences between Near Eastern civilizations and the rise of western civilization in Greece explored. The relationship between archaeology and the Bible is also investigated throughout the course.

Syllabus for 118TS (FALL 2009)

Near East Chronology Handout

Late Bronze Age Mutliple World System Chart

Anth 118TS Project Handout

Midterm Study Guide

Final Exam Study Guide

Required Texts

Readings will be assigned from the following (see Course Schedule for specific assignments):

Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia, Facts on File
by Michael Roaf, New York, 1990.

The Archaeology of Ancient Israel
by Amnon Ben-Tor, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1994.

For readings from the Bible in the syllabus, you can use this online source:


   Course Announcements:


Midterm Review Session, Wednesday, October 21, 5 pm, 2001a HSSB

Extra Credit: Go to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Road Trip!!!) and describe five of their ancient Near Eastern objects (but not from the Egyptian gallery). Discuss their role and significance to Near Eastern civilization, connecting them with themes discussed in the class. 2-5 pages, up to 5 points extra credit!