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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations
for taking us from our hominid ancestory through the earliest civilizations.

Human Prehistory
and the First Civilizations
Lectures by Professor Brian M. Fagan

Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations (2003) - 36 lectures, 18 hours
Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations at TheGreatCourses.com

Where do we come from? How did our ancestors settle this planet? How did the great historic civilizations of the world develop? How does a past so shadowy that it has to be painstakingly reconstructed from fragmentary, largely unwritten records nonetheless make us who and what we are?

This course brings you the answers that the latest scientific and archaeological research and theorizing suggest about human origins, how populations developed, and the ways in which civilizations spread throughout the globe.

It is a narrative of the story of human origins and the many ties that still bind us deeply to the world before writing.

Your professor is Brian M. Fagan, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Professor Fagan was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1973 and has received numerous awards, among them the Public Service Award of the Society of Professional Archaeologists and the Public Education Award of the Society for American Archaeology. He received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California at Santa Barbara. His excavations have made him a pioneer of multidisciplinary African history.

Dr. Fagan's numerous books include People of the Earth and In the Beginning, two widely used university and college textbooks in archaeology and prehistory. His other works include The Rape of the Nile, The Adventure of Archaeology, Time Detectives, and The Little Ice Age. He also edited The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Professor Fagan was born and educated in Britain and speaks with a British accent.

AudioFile® magazine writes about Dr. Fagan: "Vibrant and dynamic. It's easy to hear why he has been lauded by faculty and students at The University of California, Santa Barbara, for his teaching and academic excellence since 1967."

What Is "Prehistory"?

Prehistory - meaning human societies without writing or widespread written records - survived until Western culture and industrial society completed their globalization in the 20th century, making the topic of a course that begins with some very old fossils seem more current than you may think.

You learn about dozens of archaeological sites all over the world and learn about stone-tool making, mammoth hunting, and temple building as you explore man's earliest origins and the earliest civilizations.

Themes to Remember: Human Achievement

Woven through this narrative is a set of pervasive themes:

  • Emerging human biological and cultural diversity (as well as our remarkable similarities across surprising expanses of time and space)
  • The impact of human adaptations to climatic and environmental change
  • The importance of seeing prehistory not merely as a chronicle of archaeological sites and artifacts, but of people behaving with the extraordinary intellectual, spiritual, and emotional dynamism that distinguish the human.

This is a world tour of prehistory with profound links to who we are and how we live today.

Professor Brian M. Fagan is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he has taught since 1967. Born in England, Dr. Fagan earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in archeology and anthropology from Pembroke College, Cambridge. His excavations in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) from 1959-1965 earned him recognition as a pioneer of multidisciplinary African history. His awards include a Distinguished Teaching Award from UC Santa Barbara.

36 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Introducing Human Prehistory 19: The Origins of States and Civilization
2: In the Beginning 20: Sumerian Civilization
3: Our Earliest Ancestors 21: Ancient Egyptian Civilization to the Old Kingdom
4: The First Human Diaspora 22: Ancient Egypt - Middle and New Kingdoms
5: The First Europeans 23: The Minoan Civilization of Crete
6: The Neanderthals 24: The Eastern Mediterranean World
7: The Origins of Homo sapiens sapiens 25: The Harappan Civilization of South Asia
8: The Great Diaspora 26: South and Southeast Asia
9: The World of the Cro-Magnons 27: Africa - A World of Interconnectedness
10: Artists and Mammoth Hunters 28: The Origins of Chinese Civilization
11: The First Americans 29: China - Zhou to the Han
12: The Paleo-Indians and Afterward 30: Southeast Asian Civilizations
13: After the Ice Age 31: Pueblos and Moundbuilders in North America
14: The First Farmers 32: Ancient Maya Civilization
15: Why Farming? 33: Highland Mesoamerican Civilization
16: The First European Farmers 34: The Origins of Andean Civilization
17: Farming in Asia and Settling the Pacific 35: The Inka and Their Predecessors
18: The Story of Maize 36: Epilogue


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Human Prehistory
and the First Civilizations
Lectures by Professor Brian M. Fagan

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations
for taking us from our hominid ancestory through the earliest civilizations.