The course examines the interaction between humans and their environment as a way to interpret human behaviour and its impact on animals and plants. From prehistoric times, human populations needed to understand animals' and plants' ethology, characteristics and distribution to obtain the necessary resources (for nutritional and non-nutritional purposes) to survive in a changing and harsh environment. After the Neolithic revolution, the domestication of plants and animals changed the way humans interacted with their environments, as well as leading to changes in animal and plant physiology. The interpretation of these processes is an interdisciplinary field which includes not only subjects as osteology, genetics and environmental studies but it also comprises some non-tangible aspects such as religion and iconography. This diversity will result in a wide range of lectures, tutorials and essay topics. Course topics will include: subsistence strategies before domestication; morphological and genetic changes brought by animal and plant domestication; identifying the centres of origins for domestication in different continents; and iconography of animal and plants.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Discuss the literature on plants and animals pre- and post-domestication and adaptation and the role of humans in these processes;
- Organise and articulate complex arguments orally and in writing, based on scientific and archaeological data about hunter-gatherers’ lifestyle and the process of domestication; and
- Identify basic physiological traits of wild and domestic species and discuss their appearance in the archaeological record.
Indicative AssessmentResearch Poster (15%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]
Poster Presentation, 10 minutes (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]
Wattle quizzes, 40 minutes each (7.5% each for a total of 15%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]
Practical tests, 30 minutes each (10% each for a total of 20%) [Learning Outcome 3]
Argumentative Essay, 2500 words (40%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2 & 3]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 18 hours of lectures and 18 hours of seminars; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsZeder, M. Bradley, D., Emshwiller, E. and Smith, B.D. (eds). 2006. Documenting Domestication: New Genetic and Archaeological Paradigms, Oakland: University of California Press.
Bellwood, P. 2005. First farmers: The origins of agricultural societies, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Barker, G., 2006. The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory: Why did Foragers become Farmers? Oxford University Press
Binford, L.R., 1981. Bones: Ancient men and modern myths. Academic Press
Binford, L.R., 1983. In Pursuit of the Past: Decoding the archaeological record. Thames and Hudson
Brain, C.K., 1981. The Hunters or the Hunted? An introduction to African cave taphonomy. University of Chicago Press
Clutton-Brock, J. (ed), 1989. The Walking Larder: Patterns of Domestication, Pastoralism and Predation. Tailor & Francis Ltd., London
Clutton-Brock, J., 2012. Animals as Domesticates: a World View through History (the Animal turn). Michigan State University Press
Mason, I.L. (ed), 1984. Evolution of domesticated animals. Prentice Hall Press
Zohary, D., Hopf, M., and Weiss, E., 2012. Domestication of Plants in the Old World: the origin and spread of domesticated plants in Southwest Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. Oxford University Press
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
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