Exploring Ancient Mysteries

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Assignment 1: Essay –

Choose one (1) of the topics below and develop a three to four (3-4)
paragraph essay (of at least 250-500 words) which adequately address the topic
you have chosen.

Topic Choices

  • There have been many theories regarding how the pyramids at Giza were
    constructed. Most experts agree that they were constructed as burial monuments
    for pharaohs, but “how” these ancient people constructed monuments of such great
    size without modern machinery is a mystery which is still being debated.
  • No one can say for certain what happened to the great urban Mayan
    civilization, but theories abound and include varied possible alternatives to
    explain the relatively abrupt and mysterious disappearance of the Mayan
  • Tutankhamen died young, at approximately eighteen (18) years of age.
    However, his cause of death has been the subject of quite varied scholarly
    theories and conclusions. Did he die of an injury, of illness, of murder, or
    something else?.
  • Minoan Crete was a major civilization in its time, but several theories have
    been advanced to explain its demise, including speculations associating it with
    mythical Atlantis. What were the causes of Minoan Civilization’s decline?
  • Great Zimbabwe is an enormous complex of structures in East Africa. Since
    the builders and occupants left no written records, several theories have
    developed as to the identity of its builders and the functions of the
    structures. Which theory makes the most sense?
  • The monumental size and complexity of the Tomb of Shihuangdi is astounding,
    yet its location and construction details were to be kept secret. What was the
    emperor’s purpose for such an elaborate, secret burial place?
  • Other topic choice recommended and approved by the professor and supported
    by the grading rubric.

Write a three to four (3-4) paragraph paper in which you:

  1. Clearly state the “mystery” and provide a brief summary of at least two (2)
    reasonable and scholarly theories which could explain the mystery. Because some
    theories may sound far-fetched, include the source or promoter of each theory –
    such as a scientist, a historian, a theologian, etc.
  2. After summarizing at least two (2) scholarly theories, identify one (1) of
    the theories as the most plausible and provide at least two (2) convincing
    reasons why the theory you have chosen is the best one to explain the mystery.
    This will involve some critical reasoning skills on your part.
  3. Use at least two (2) sources plus the class textbook. (Three [3] sources
    total as the minimum) Note: Wikipedia and other similar
    Websites do not qualify as academic resources. You are highly encouraged to use
    the Resource Center tab at the top of your Blackboard page.

Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch
    margins on all sides; citations and references must follow APA style format.
    Both in-text citations and a References list are required. Citations and
    references must follow APA style format. Check with your professor for any
    additional instructions. (Note: Students can find APA style
    materials located in the course shell for guidance).
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s
    name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and
    the reference page are not included in the required assignment page length. For
    our purposes, you may omit any abstract page.

The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment

  • Explain how key social, cultural, and artistic contributions contribute to
    historical changes.
  • Explain the importance of situating a society’s cultural and artistic
    expressions within a historical context.
  • Examine the influences of intellectual, religious, political, and
    socio-economic forces on social, cultural, and artistic expressions.
  • Identify major historical developments in world cultures during the eras of
    antiquity to the Renaissance
  • Use technology and information resources to research issues in the study of
    world cultures.
  • Write clearly and concisely about world cultures using proper writing


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