Anthropology (ANTH) 377

Ancient Cultures of North America (Revision 2)

ANTH 377 Course website

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: ANTH 272 or ANTH 277. Students who have completed introductory courses in other disciplines may request permission to register from the Course Coordinator.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Anthropology Studies home page

ANTH 377 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Anthropology 377: Ancient Cultures of North America is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the precontact cultures of North America, from the first peopling of the continent to the arrival of Europeans. The course has three major objectives:

  1. To foster an appreciation for the dynamic field of North American archaeology, particularly the gathering of information and interpretation of past cultures
  2. To furnish an understanding of the general historical sequence of North America’s past and an appreciation for the diversity of the peoples and cultures that thrived here
  3. To provide the ability to evaluate the ways in which contemporary archaeologists consider and communicate with other stakeholders in North America’s past


Part I: Introducing North American Archaeology

  • Unit 1: The Nature and Practice of North American Archaeology
  • Unit 2: The Culture and Environment in North America’s Past

Part II: The North American Past

  • Unit 3: Peopling of the Americas
  • Unit 4: Foragers of the North
  • Unit 5: Paths to Complexity on the Northwest Coast
  • Unit 6: Rivers, Roots, and Rabbits—The Plateau
  • Unit 7: Diversity and Complexity in California
  • Unit 8: Mobility, Flexibility, and Persistence in the Great Basin
  • Unit 9: Foragers and Villagers of the Southwestern Mountains, Mesas, and Deserts
  • Unit 10: Bison Hunters and Horticulturalists of the Great Plains
  • Unit 11: The Eastern Woodlands, Part 1—Tribes and Chiefdoms in the Southeast
  • Unit 12: The Eastern Woodlands, Part 2—Foragers and Farmers of the Midwest and Upper Great Lakes
  • Unit 13: The Eastern Woodlands, Part 3—Fishing, Farming, and Foraging in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

Part III: The Future of North American Archaeology

  • Unit 14: Modern World and North American Archaeology for the Twenty-First Century


To receive credit for ANTH 377, you must complete a map quiz, an essay assignment, a research paper outline, a research paper, and a midterm and final examination, and you must achieve a minimum grade of D (50 percent) on both the midterm and final examinations, and an overall grade of D (50 percent) for the entire course.

Activity Weighting
Map Quiz 5%
Essay Assignment 15%
Midterm Exam 25%
Research Paper Outline 10%
Research Paper 20%
Final Exam 25%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Neusius, Sarah W., and G. Timothy Gross. Seeking Our Past: An Introduction to North American Archaeology, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Other Materials

All other materials are available online through the course home page.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ANTH 377 challenge registration, you must complete a map quiz, an essay assignment, a research paper outline, a research paper, a midterm exam, and a final exam and receive at least a D (50 percent) on each of the exams and an overall course grade of D (50 percent). The weightings of each activity are listed below.

Activity Weighting
Map Quiz 5%
Essay Assignment 15%
Midterm Exam 25%
Research Paper Outline 10%
Research Paper 20%
Final Exam 25%
Total 100%

Midterm and final exams are each three hours long and written at an invigilation centre.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, December 7, 2016

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