Summer 2023 - ARCH 226 OL01

Shamans, Sacrifice and Psychedelics (3)

Class Number: 4175

Delivery Method: Online


  • 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.


Provides an overview of the emergence and changes in the expression of human religious behaviour. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.

Discusses how archaeologists attempt to recognize ritual behaviours and religion in the past. Topics include the distinction between traditional and book religions, shamanism, altered states of consciousness, monumental architecture, ritual offerings, ritual warfare, human sacrifice, and human burials and cremation. Examples are drawn from a wide geographic and temporal scope, from the earliest rituals of the Palaeolithic, to ancient states such as Egypt and China, and to smaller forager and farming societies of the Americas.


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



No required text. Readings will be made available online.


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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 ( 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 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.