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Hunter-gatherer Archaeology


Admission requirements

Bachelor's degree in Archaeology, Anthropology, or equivalent obtained.


This course is about our hunter-gatherer past and the archaeology of hunter-gatherers. After a review of the research history, theoretical approaches, and ethno-archaeology, you will further develop your own topic of interest.

Topics addressed during the course may include:

  • simple vs complex foragers

  • the evolution of subsistence strategies

  • innovative foragers

  • beyond basecamp and hunting stand

  • ethno-historic richness vs ethnographic tyranny

  • niche construction and the ‘giving environment’

The goal of the course is to give you an opportunity to explore current issues in hunter-gatherer archaeology and develop your own topic of interest. The topic can be specialised and focused, but you can also choose to broaden your scope.

The regional focus is primarily Europe, but the issues are relevant globally and can be developed for any region of choice.

Course set-up

2-hour meetings, twice a week. Meetings consist of short introductory lectures, presentations and discussion.

Course objectives

After completion of the course, the student has acquired:

  • Knowledge of different theoretical perspectives for studying hunter-gatherers;

  • An informed opinion about the category of 'hunter-gatherers' and the relevance of ethnographic foragers for learning about and from past foragers;

  • Knowledge of current issues in hunter-gatherer archaeology;

  • Knowledge of innovative approaches to hunter-gatherer archaeology.

The student is able to:

  • Review a current issue for a region of choice based on recent scientific publications;

  • Formulate a well-argued position on a current debate using recent scientific publications;

  • Develop innovative approaches into fieldwork strategies for hunter-gatherer archaeology.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction


Course load

  • Lectures and seminars (1 ec);

  • Ca. 280 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • Written assignments (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Participation and discussion (10%);

  • Presentations (20%);

  • Short written assignments (30%);

  • Final essay (40%).

A retake is only possible for the final essay, and only if all other requirements have been met, including attendance and submission of all assignments.

Assessment deadlines

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button. To view the assessment deadline(s), make sure to select the course with a code ending in T and/or R.

The written assignments have weekly deadlines.

Reading list

  • Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers (online access when logged in in the University Library catalogue);

  • Further reading will be published on Brightspace.


Registration in uSis is mandatory. You can register for this course until 5 days before the first class.

Registration in uSis automatically leads to enrollment in the corresponding Brightspace module. Therefore you do not need to enroll in Brightspace, but make sure to register for this course in uSis.

You are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time. The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, you are not required to do this in uSis.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to apply.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. A. (Alexander) Verpoorte.


Compulsory attendance.