Summer 2017 - ARCH 226 D100

The Prehistory of Religion: Shamans, Sorcerers and Saints (3)

Class Number: 5790

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    HCC 1325, Vancouver

  • Instructor:

    David Maxwell
    Office: SWH 9103
    Office Hours: TBA
  • Prerequisites:

    Any lower division archaeology or anthropology course.



Charts the emergence and changes in the expression of human religious behavior. It covers the earliest rituals of the Palaeolithic, the importance of fertility cults, ancestor cults, alliance rituals, shamans, witchcraft, and monotheism. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


An overview of how archaeologists attempt to recognize ritual behaviours and religion in the past. Topics include the distinction between traditional religions and book religions, shamanism, altered states of consciousness, monumental architecture, ritual offerings, ritual and warfare, human sacrifice, and human burial and cremation. Examples are drawn from a wide variety of ancient cultures, ranging from the state societies of the Maya and Egypt, to smaller farming communities such as Chaco Canyon (North America), and foraging cultures of the distant past.   Students may choose to write either the final exam OR an original research paper, but may not write both.


  • Short Assignments (3; 10% each) 30%
  • Midterm Exam 35%
  • Final Exam or Research Paper 35%


Breadth: Humanities/Social Sciences

DATE: June 21
TIME: 9:30AM-12:20PM
ROOM: HCC 1700



No Required text. Several suggested readings will be made available online.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

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Deferred grades will be given only on the basis of authenticated medical disability.

Registrar Notes:

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