nl en

Deep History


Admission requirements



Almost all of the Earth's surface shows evidence of human activity and the impact this has on the environment. Hardly any ecosystem is without human interference. But when and how did humans begin to shape the earth system?

The origins of human impact on planet Earth is debated in scientific as well as political circles. In line with this, the definition of the term Anthropocene is still up for discussion. Archaeology plays an important role in this discussion. The central question of the course is: when was the start of the so-called Anthropocene?

We will focus on 2 major transformations in the history of modern humans:
1) the spread of Homo sapiens across the globe
2) the development and spread of agriculture (the neolithisation process).
What is the impact of these major transformations on the relations between humans, animals and the environment in general?

The time frame of the course extends from ca. 200.000 years BP until roughly 5.000 years BP, but the relevance is very much the present (e.g. see Liveable Planet).

Key-words in this course are: Anthropocene, human niche construction, sustainability, interdisciplinarity, liveable planet.

Course objectives

After the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the spread of Homo sapiens across the world;

  • Discuss the role of humans in the late Quaternary megafauna extinctions;

  • Describe the development and spread of agriculture;

  • Describe and discuss current theories on domestication and the spread of agriculture;

  • Discuss the consequences of the neolithisation process;

  • Describe and evaluate the concept of “Anthropocene”;

  • Write an academic review;

  • Present the course topic to a non-archaeological public.


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

Weekly lectures.

Assessment method

  • Assignment 1: academic review (25%);

  • Assignment 2: science communication (25%);

  • Exam: open-book, multiple choice and short open questions (50%).

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 can be found on Brightspace.

Reading list

The reading list can be found on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


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