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World Archaeology 2.1: Holocene European Prehistory


Admission requirements



The lecture series World Archaeology gives an outline of the human past from our early ancestors to large-scale and complex societies.

World Archaeology 2.1 focuses on the rise of European societies after the Ice Age, before the adoption of writing. We will address key developments such as:

  • How did global warming transform society?

  • How and why did people become farmers?

  • How massive migrations shaped Europe

  • The rise of “ritual” landscapes

  • The emergence of hierarchies and social inequality

  • Ethnicity in Barbarian Europe; who were the Celts?

You will obtain basic knowledge on key discoveries, chronology and key sites, and find out how to link these to fundamental concerns of our own time, such as global warming and ethnicity.

Course set-up

  • Lectures and tutorials;

  • Weekly assignments.

Course objectives

The student has basic knowledge of:

  • The key developments in the prehistory of Europe in the Holocene;

  • Their general chronology;

  • The main archaeological periods (Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age and characteristic artefacts).

The student is able to:

  • Analyse the basic arguments behind the key developments discussed in class and in the textbook;

  • Summarise the core of the archaeological problem discussed;

  • Express why these developments are so significant for understanding the later history of society in Europe.


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

  • Lectures and short information clips on Brightspace;

  • Assignments; brief online exams to test knowledge and insight. In tutorials, students study and discuss the literature and question of the day with a teaching assistant;

  • In the wrap-up sessions, we discuss the question of the day, the answers to the assignments, thus helping you to master the information in the textbook by dividing it into manageable chunks.

You will take part in three 1-hour tutorial sessions, coordinated by Teaching Assistants (TAs). During these tutorials, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in conversations about various research topics. Alongside the TAs, the lecturers will also occasionally participate in the tutorials.

Course load

  • 12 hours of lectures (0.5 ec);

  • Ca. 56 hours of course preparation, weekly assignments, tutorials, literature reading (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Multiple choice exam (100%).

During the course there will be 3 online workbook assignments that help you to work your way through the workbook and test whether you grasped all relevant information in it. In addition to this, there are 3 weekly online assignments that test basic knowledge on periodisation, characteristics of periods and key sites and finds.
Doing these tests can give you a maximum of 1.0 bonus point, to be added to the grade of the multiple choice exam.

A retake of the exam is only possible in case of a fail (in compliance with our teaching rules and regulations) and only when the requirements of attendance and assignments have been met.

Compensation between the grades of World Archaeology 2.1 and World Archaeology 2.2 is only possible if the individual grades are a 5.0 or higher.

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.

Deadlines for assignments are included in the course syllabus.

Reading list

Chapters 6 (From Foragers to Farmers), 12 (Holocene Europe), Chapter 20 (Retrospect and Prospect) of C. Scarre (ed.), The Human Past. World Prehistory & The Development of Human Societies. Thames & Hudson.


The Administration Office will register all Archaeology BA1 students in uSis for their lectures and tutorials.
If you are not in Archaeology BA1, you can register for this course by e-mailing the Administration Office. Use your uMail, messages sent from private mail accounts cannot be verified and will not be processed.

Registration in uSis automatically leads to enrollment in the corresponding Brightspace module. Therefore you do not need to enroll in Brightspace.

The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, you are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. D.R. (David) Fontijn.


Compulsory attendance during lectures. Upon missing more than one lecture, you will be excluded from the exam.