Dr. Heather M.-L. Miller

Anthropology, University of Toronto at Mississauga

Fall 2005


Lecture & Tutorial:  Thursday, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm, Room 201 North Building


Course Web Page:

Course CCNet page:






 Office Hours 

Heather M-L Miller


 Room 208

 North Bldg. 


hmiller "at" 

 Tues & Thurs

 1:30 - 2:30 

Matthew Mosher

   Teaching Assistant

 Room 221

 North Bldg.




By appointment only



Course Description

This survey of ancient state-level societies will be focused on understanding the processes involved in the functioning of states.

While we will briefly cover the history and details of many ancient states, the majority of the class will be devoted to the comparative analysis of state characteristics.  In particular, we will examine theories that have been used to explain state organization, and how various political, social, economic, and religious orientations affected state formation, cohesion, maintenance and dissolution.

The goal of the course is to achieve an understanding of the wide range of ways that ancient states operated, which offers insights into existing and possible organizational methods for states today.

As we will be covering a great deal of information, students must attend all lectures and complete all of the readings.  Lectures, films, tutorials and readings will provide overlapping material, but students are responsible for all material covered in any of these formats.



Required Course Materials


Available at UTM Bookstore AND second-hand (see bulletin board next to Room 208 North):

(1) Scarre, Christopher and Brian M. Fagan

        2003.  Ancient Civilizations.  Second Edition.  Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New

                  Jersey.  ISBN: 0-13-048484-9, paperback.

(2) Feinman, Gary M. and Joyce Marcus (editors)

        1998.  Archaic States.  Advanced Seminar Series.  School of American Research, Santa Fe,

                  New Mexico.  ISBN: 0-933452-99-3, paperback.




The marked work for this course will consist of weekly quizzes on the readings, two tests, and an essay or short paper (5-6 typed pages).  The essay will be composed of three stages of marked work.



The quizzes on the readings will be worth a total of 10% of the course grade.

These quizzes will be composed of 4-5 true/false questions designed to reward those who do the readings assigned for each class period.  Therefore, they will test major points covered in the assigned reading (such as the information in the introductions, headings and conclusion), not minor details.  They will be given at the beginning of every class.  If you are late to class, you may not take the quiz. There will be no make-ups for these quizzes, under any circumstances.  I will drop the two lowest quiz marks for every student, so missing a class due to illness, etc., will not affect your overall mark on the quizzes.



The two tests will be worth 24% each, for a total of 48%.

The tests are not cumulative -- the second test covers only the material after the previous test.

The multiple choice section will focus on information about specific states/civilizations presented in the readings, especially (but not exclusively) information from Scarre & Fagan.

In the essay section of each test, students must answer two short essays (from a choice of 3).  The essays will focus on concepts and theories rather than the prehistory of specific states (similar to the questions asked on the final exam in previous years).  Your answers should include material from all of the assigned readings as well as all information presented in class sessions, especially (but not exclusively) information from the readings in Feinman & Marcus.



Avoid missing the tests.  A valid doctor's excuse or similar university-approved excuse will be required to take the make-up.  ONE makeup will be given for each test, the week after the regular test.  All makeup tests will be essay format only, with no multiple choice section.



The three assignments related to your essay will be worth a total of 42%.

All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the dates specified (see below for more).

You are strongly encouraged to have your choice of outside article approved by Dr. Miller BEFORE the Thesis & Outline is due.


The three assignments are:

    (1) a Thesis & Outline, detailing your topic and showing the structure of your essay in outline format - 5%

    (2) a Critique Exercise to be conducted in tutorial on the final draft of another studentĺ─˘s essay (you will not be allowed to participate if you do not submit your own final draft) - 12%

    (3) a final 5-6 page Essay, well researched and well written - 25%

****More information on the assignments is available on the Essay Instructions handout.****


Regulations for Essay Assignments

(1) Late assignments will lose 2 marks per calendar day, including weekends.  1 mark will be deducted for assignments turned in after the first hour of class on the date due, even if the assignment is turned in on the due date.  It is your responsibility to turn in late assignments to me in my office, at my convenience.  On Mondays and most Fridays, I am only available at St. George.

(2) When you hand in your essay assignments, you must sign the submission form. This form will be available on the due date during class, or by special arrangement in advance with the instructor. DO NOT submit your assignment to the secretary nor to anyone else in the Department of Anthropology. DO NOT slide your assignment under the instructor's office door.  The assignment has not been officially submitted until you sign the submission form.  You are also advised to make a copy of your assignments before submitting them.


(3) You may work with other students in preparing for assignments, but what you submit must be your own work.  You are encouraged to discuss questions together, or share source materials, or recommend readings and web sites.  However, I will expect everyone in the class to have a different topic for their essay -- if two of you have exactly the same topic, I will assign a different topic to both of you, after consultation.


 (4) Please be especially careful to avoid plagiarism, which is a serious academic offence.  Carefully read the section under "Citations" in the Essay Instructions.  Be sure to cite ideas as well as direct quotations, even if these ideas are paraphrased.  All quotes should be either in quotation marks or indented if longer than two sentences.

Essays in which plagiarism is detected will be severely penalized.  For more details, see Section 7.11 "Academic Honesty" and Section 11.2 "The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters" in the UTM Calendar for 2005-2006.  It is your responsibility to be familiar with this code, and adhere to it.  Be sure to read the link to the information on plagiarism on the web site,




Course Schedule



Readings (for class on date listed)


Sept 15

 Course Introduction

 Background to the Study of Ancient States/"Civilizations"

 Tutorial:  Introduction



Sept 22

 quiz (on Readings plus Essay Instruction sheet)

 Theories of States (overview of course topics)

 Tutorial:  Ideas for Essay topics; film

Scarre & Fagan pp. 3-11, 23-58

Preface & Intro, Feinman & Marcus

     (F& M) pp. xiii-13


Sept 29


 Mesopotamian States & Civilization

 Political Organization & Bureaucracy ĺ─ý State Operations

 The Political Economy of States: Food Production, Trade,

      Craft Production (mostly Mesopotamian examples)

 Tutorial:  Library Presentation on Research & Writing

Scarre & Fagan pp. 64-103

Wright, F & M pp. 173-198


Oct  6


 Reading on Egyptian States & Civilization

 Movie Day: Pyramid, by David McCauley (Egypt)

            and   Maya Lords of the Jungle

Tutorial: Academic Skills Centre Presentation - Essay

Scarre & Fagan pp. 104-145


Oct 13


 Lecture on Egyptian States & Civilizations

 Cultural Systems ("Civilization") vs. Political Systems


 Sources of Power:  Wealth, Legitimacy, Order

 Tutorial: Questions forTest 1

Baines & Yoffee, F & M pp. 199-260


Oct 20

 Test 1

 No Tutorial



Oct 27

 quiz; Essay Thesis & Outline due

Try to have your choice of outside article approved by

       Dr. Miller BEFORE the Thesis & Outline is due!

 Mayan States & Civilization (Lowland Mesoamerica)

 The History of States -- Dynamic Cycling

 Tutorial: Mayan States in more detail:  corrections to text

Scarre & Fagan pp. 406-442 (note

     lots of errors in text!!)

Marcus, F & M pp. 59-68 & 91-94 

     (only read Marcusĺ─˘ case studies

     on other states, pp. 68-91, if

     appropriate for your essay topic)


Nov 3


 Warfare, Status, and Force in States

 Highland Mesoamerica

 Andean States (South America)


Morris, F & M pp. 293-310

Scarre & Fagan pp. 444-468, 490-


Webster, F & M pp. 311-318, 346-

    351; just briefly skim pp. 319-345

    (unless doing essay on warfare)


Nov 10


 Chinese States & Civilization

 The Role of Ritual and Religion in States

 Tutorial: How to Critique an Essay

       (contact Dr. Miller ASAP if you miss this tutorial!)


Scarre & Fagan pp. 170-196, 380-



Nov 17

 quiz; Submit Draft of essay at BEGINNING of class

 The Indus Civilization

 Non-state States?  Re-visiting the Definition of a State

 Tutorial: Essay Critique Exercise

Possehl, F & M pp. 261-292

     (You do not need to read Scarre

     & Fagan on the Indus - much of

     it overlaps Possehl, & much is

     not quite correct!)


Nov 24


 Summary of Sources of Power in States

 Tutorial: Questions for Test 2; Help with Essays

Scarre & Fagan pp. 515-523

Blanton, F & M pp. 134-172


Dec 1

 Test 2

 No Tutorial



Dec 8

 quiz; Essays due

 Archaeological (on-the-ground) Indicators of States

 The Scale of States (Size and Organization)

Flannery, F & M pp. 15-16 & 54-57;

    briefly skim headings on pp 16-53

Feinman, F & M pp. 95-114 ONLY

     (not entire article)