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Deep History


Admission requirements



The Earth System (think of global processes affecting the atmosphere, ecosystems, soils and climate) is moving towards a new state away from Holocene conditions. The concept of the “Anthropocene” is used to designate this new era and the role of humans on planet Earth. In this course we will study:

  • The basics of the Earth System and its temporalities including the role of life, ecosystems and humans

  • The deep history leading to the Anthropocene:
    1) the Pleistocene origins of humans and human-environmental relations
    2) the origins and development of agriculture in the context of Holocene climatic conditions

  • The archaeology of the Anthropocene: the material culture of the Anthropocene (e.g. plastics and concrete structures)

  • The future-oriented archaeology in the Anthropocene: can archaeology contribute to a “better” Anthropocene?

Course set-up

The course consists of weekly lectures and several learning activities in preparation of or during class hours, including one individual and one group assignment.

Course objectives

After the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the concept of the Anthropocene;

  • Describe the outline of the Earth System;

  • Describe and discuss the concept of anthropogenic niche construction;

  • Describe the role of humans in Pleistocene environments;

  • Describe the origins, consequences and role of agriculture during the Holocene;

  • Write an academic comment on a scientific paper;

  • Present a selected 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 lecture/seminar;

  • Learning activities to prepare for class;

  • One individual assignment;

  • One group assignment.

Assessment method

  • Weekly exercises and individual assignment (10%) ;

  • Multiple choice exam (90%)

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.


For lectures, tutorials, and exams, enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.
You are also required to confirm your exam in MyStudymap. No confirmation = no participation!

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

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


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