Anthropology (ANTH) 320

Ancient Civilizations (Revision 1)

ANTH 320 Course website

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: ANTH 272 or ANTH 277 or permission of the course coordinator.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

ANTH 320 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Anthropology 320: Ancient Civilizations is designed to provide you with an understanding of the early cities, states, kingdoms, and empires that developed in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas beginning about 5000 years ago.

After completing this course, you should be able to

  1. understand the processes involved in the rise of ancient civilizations.
  2. comprehend the different trajectories these civilizations took as their complexity increased.
  3. outline and explain the factors involved in the decline and eventual collapse of early civilizations.
  4. share the lessons found in the past and suggest ways that they may apply to present and future human civilizations.
  5. think and write critically.


  • Unit 1: The Study of Civilization
  • Unit 2: The First Civilizations
  • Unit 3: Great Powers of the Near East
  • Unit 4: The Mediterranean World
  • Unit 5: Northeast Africa and Asia
  • Unit 6: Early States of the Americas
  • Unit 7: Epilogue - Prospect and Retrospect


You must complete Quiz #1 and Quiz #2, Assignment #1 and Assignment 2A and 2B, plus the midterm and final exams to receive credit for Anthropology 320. In addition, to receive credit for Anth 320 you must achieve a minimum grade of "D" (50 percent) on both the midterm and final examinations, and a minimum overall grade of "D" (50 percent) for the entire course. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Quiz #1 Assignment 1: Three Short Assays Midterm Exam Assignment 2A: Research Paper Outline Quiz #2 Assignment 2B: Research Paper Final Exam Total
5% 15% 20% 10% 5% 25% 20% 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


Scarre, Christopher and Brian M. Fagan. 2008. Ancient Civilizations. 3rd edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Marcus, Joyce and Jeremy A. Sabloff, eds. 2008. The Ancient City: New Perspectives on Urbanism in the Old and New World. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press.

Video Components

This course includes a number of viewing assignments. For some of these, you will need to borrow resources from the Athabasca University Library, while other videos can be viewed online. If students are unable to watch an assigned video, a reading alternative will be provided.

Other Materials

All other materials needed for this course can be accessed online.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they 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 for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ANTH 320 challenge registration, you must complete a short essay assignment, a research paper assignment, a midterm exam, and a final exam and receive at least a “D” (50 per cent) on the each of the exams and an overall course grade of "D" (50 per cent). The weightings of each activity are listed below:

Assignment 1 (3 Short Essays) Assignment 2 (Research Paper) Midterm Exam Final Exam Total
20% 30% 25% 25% 100%

Midterm and final exams are each 3 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.

Image Credits

Opened in Revision 1, March 20, 2014.