Archaeology of Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific
ARCHY 325/525; Autumn 2014
  Mon., Wed., 10:30-12:50
Denny Hall 401

Overview Schedule

Peter Lape,, Denny 140, office hours: Mondays 2-3 or by appointment

Course summary:

This course encompasses the history of the human occupation of the tropical Pacific islands, especially Island Southeast Asia (ISEA), and Oceania. This is a huge area covering nearly 1/3 of the earth's surface, with a fascinating and varied human history. Modern humans first appear in this region over 40,000 years ago and there is evidence for other hominim species even earlier. Other parts of the region were some of the last places on earth to be discovered and occupied by humans before the age of European exploration. We will focus on the current debates about island biogeography, human migrations, long distance maritime trade, political structures, culture contact and colonialism, with an emphasis on the analysis of the primary archaeological and documentary data.

Learning Goals:
  • Understand the geography and chronology of the human occupation of the tropical Pacific island region as known from current archaeological data, as well as from genetic, linguistic and documentary evidence.
  • Examine the limits of that data, current questions and debates in the archaeology of the region in the context of the history of social and political factors that have shaped those debates.
  • Develop analytical reading, writing and public speaking skills.
This is a discussion-oriented course with minimal instructor lectures. For this format to work well, students need to do the assigned reading and be prepared to participate in discussion.

You must post a brief response to at least one of the readings for every class period on the Canvas Discussions section. These are due by 9AM before the class for which the reading is assigned. We will frequently have in-class written assignments that will be collected at the end of class.
These are not graded individually but count toward your participation grade.

There are two major paper assignments for the quarter, details can be found in the Schedule page.
There will also be opportunities for extra credit, these will be announced as they arise during the quarter.

  •     30% class participation, discussion board posts and in-class writing
  •     20% map quiz
  •     25% position paper (including peer review of other's papers)
  •     25% grant proposal paper (including peer review of other's papers)
Additional Requirements for ARCHY 525 students:
  • additional readings tbd
  • additional presentations to the class
  • additional meetings outside of class hours
  • Late submissions will not be accepted and missed exams cannot be made up unless you make alternate arrangements prior to the due date.
  • Please notify me in advance if you have to miss a class meeting; do not email me asking for a summary of a class you missed; you must get course notes from one of your peers.
  • Electronic devices (laptops, cell phones, etc.) may not be used in class without my permission.
  • I welcome ongoing feedback about the class. Please feel free to send me suggestions for improvement at any time during the quarter.

Academic Honesty:
All students are expected to complete their own work even when working collaboratively with other students.  Students found guilty of cheating or plagiarism will receive a failing grade. See this useful overview of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Anthropology Writing Center:
The Anthropology Writing Center is staffed by knowledgeable anthropology graduate students who are trained to work with you on your writing. Located in Denny 430, you can email them at to sign up for an appointment and some drop-in hours also available. The Anthropology Writing Center staff can help you to:  

  • better understand what an assignment is asking you to do
  • plan how to complete assignments carefully
  • put that plan into practice, from the initial writing of research/class notes through the submission of a successful draft.

All assigned readings will be available electronically on the Schedule page.