Almost all humans today derive their sustenance, directly or indirectly, from agriculture, but for more than 90 percent of our existence, people subsisted by hunting, gathering, fishing, and gardening. We tend to think of hunter/gatherers as living like the Dobe of the Kalahari desert in southern Africa, Australian Aborigines, or the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic. Ethnographic accounts of these and other peoples give us some insight into the hunter/gatherer way of life, but they describe populations existing in marginal environments. The foragers of the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods of prehistory inhabited environmentally rich river valleys, lakeshores, and coastal areas in temperate and tropical climates. They were characterized by high population densities, productive economies, intense material-culture production, and complex regional social interaction. Initially, the course will explore this "lost" period of human existence. The second part of the course will examine the domestication of plants and animals and the impact of the early development of intensive farming. Did civilization arise with the appearance of agricultural economies, or do we share more continuity than we think with a complex foraging way of life?