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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:

  • Diversity of hunter-gatherers or foragers

  • Evolution of subsistence strategies

  • Evolutionary perspectives e.g. human behavioral ecology and niche construction theory

  • Humanistic perspectives e.g. notions of ‘animism’ and ‘totemism’, the ‘giving environment’

  • The ‘tyranny of the ethnographic record’

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 focus can be developed for any region of choice.

Course set-up

2-hour meetings, weekly. 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 past foragers;

  • Knowledge of current issues in hunter-gatherer archaeology;

  • Knowledge of the diversity of hunter-gatherers, past and present.

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;


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


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.

Deadlines will be published on Brightspace at the start of the course.

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.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

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

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.