Ancient Civilizations of Latin America

ANTHRO 214, LEC 201

  • Class Number: 67768
  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Credits: 3
  • Meets Requirements:
  • Instructor: Jason Sherman
  • Course Dates:
  • Course Syllabus (.pdf)

This course provides a comparative archaeological overview of various civilizations that flourished in Latin America prior to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the early 16th century. The first half of the course will focus on three societies in Mesoamerica (southern Mexico and northern Central America): the Classic Maya of the tropical lowlands, the central Mexican metropolis of Teotihuacan, and the Aztec empire, which stretched from the Pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexico. In the second half of the course, we will consider two South American civilizations—the Moche state of the Peruvian coast, and the Inca, who built the largest indigenous empire in the Americas—as well as complex “chiefly” societies in the Caribbean such as the Taino. We will conclude the course by briefly discussing the Spanish conquest and the continuing importance of the native past in modern Latin America.