Fall 2022 - ARCH 226 OL01

Shamans, Sacrifice and Psychedelics (3)

Class Number: 6183

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA



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 behavious 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 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 (paper topics MUST be approved by the course instructor no later than Week 7; papers submitted without topic approval will NOT be accepted).


  • Short Assignments (2 @ 10% each) 20%
  • Discussion Assignments (5 @ 2% each) 10%
  • Midterm Exam 35%
  • Final Exam 35%



No required text. Readings will be made available online.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

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

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html