Course Description

This course explores the causes and processes of collapse, decline, political instability, and transformation in ancient civilizations. What are the causes of societal collapse and decline, and how were they experienced by ancient peoples? How do archaeologists recognize the collapse or decline of past societies in the material record? Does the collapse of ancient civilizations provide any lessons for the modern world, and how does our modern perspective both enable and color our interpretations of ancient “collapse?”  The course examines a number of past cultures from a comparative anthropological approach, including case studies from the Mayas, Ancient Puebloans, Romans, Mesopotamian empires, and Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

St. Lawrence University, Fall 2014