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Survey of Prehistoric Mexico and Central America

Course Number: ATH 235
Transcript Title: Prehistoric Mexico/Cen America
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: September 25, 2013
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: No
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit

Course Description

Study of the development, form and history of pre-Columbian Indian civilizations, surveying the achievements of the Maya, the Aztec and their neighbors. Audit available.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies may include:

  • Exams (take home and in class)
  • Term papers

Course Activities and Design

  1. Examine the history and cultural development of Mesoamerican societies from the prehistoric period throough the time of European contact.
  2. Identify the primary cutlural features of Mesoamerican societies like the Maya and the Aztec.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Central American Geography
  • Mesoamerica as a concept


  • Cultural Origins
  • Cultural Expansion
  • Cultural Collapse


  • Cultural Evolution
  • Mesoamerica as a Culture Area
  • Mesoamerican Pattern
  • "CBS" Crops
  • Slash and Burn/Chinampa Agriculture
  • Paleo-Indian, Incipient, Pre-Classic, Classic, Post-Classic
  • Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacano, Toltec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Mixica


  • Study archaeology at a college level
  • Learn the archaeology, prehistory and history of Mesoamerican Civilization

Department Notes

This class will be a survey of Meso-American Archaeology from the first paleo-Indian inhabitation of the Americas to European invasion and conquest. Students should minimally read and write at a collegiate level.