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World Archaeology 1.1: Human Origins


Admission requirements



The lecture series World Archaeology gives an outline of the human past from our early ancestors to large-scale and complex societies.
Part 1.1 concerns human origins: from the cradle of humankind in Africa to the dispersal to the rest of the world, and the evolution of our own species and its biological and cultural traits.

We will address basic questions about the evolution of bipedality, toolmaking, and brainsize. You will study the archaeological evidence and discuss how early humans made a living. You will learn about key discoveries and important archaeological sites as well as the most important research topics.

Course set-up

  • Lectures and tutorials;

  • Weekly assignments.

Course objectives

Basic knowledge of:

  • The chronology, climate and environment of human origins;

  • The most important fossil hominins;

  • Key sites (ca. 10 sites);

  • The main archaeological periods and characteristic artefacts;

  • The chronology and geography of human dispersal.

Ability to:

  • Analyse the basic arguments of an archaeological issue or problem from the textbook;

  • Summarise the core of the archaeological problem;

  • Express an opinion based on the arguments (in writing or in discussion with peers).


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;

  • Weekly assignments and tutorials, in which students study the literature with a teaching assistant.

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.

Assessment method

  • Multiple choice exam (100%).

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 1.1 and World Archaeology 1.2 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 2 to 5 of Scarre, C. (ed.) 2018. The Human Past. World Prehistory and the Development of Human Societies (Fourth edition) Thames and Hudson) ISBN 9780500294208.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

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

BA1 (first-year) Archaeology students will be enrolled by the Administration Office. If you are not a BA1 student, but want to take this course, please contact the Administration Office.


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


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