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Palaeolithic Archaeology



Bachelor year 2.

Admission requirements

BA1 World Archaeology 3 and BA1 Material Studies obtained.


This course provides hands-on, practical experience with palaeolithic and mesolithic stone tools.
After introducing the main theoretical framework for analysing stone tools, we will study the signatures of percussion techniques and ‘read’ the direction and chronology of removals from cores and flakes.
Then we will study the reference collection of archaeological material from the lower palaeolithic to the mesolithic, and explore the palaeolithic and mesolithic record of the Netherlands. You will describe and document stone tools from a wide range of archaeological sites.

The course is designed for students with an interest in field archaeology, prospection techniques and commercial archaeology, and for students interested in human origins.

Course objectives

Ability to:

  • recognise and describe the morphology and technological features of stone tools (cores, flakes, blades as well as retouched tools);

  • recognise and describe lithic taphonomy (patination, edge damage);

  • recognise and describe palaeolithic and mesolithic tool types;

  • argue a chronological attribution based on technological and typological features;

  • document and analyse a lithic assemblage at a basic level.


Course schedule details can be found in the BA2 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Introductory seminars;

  • Practicals.

Course load

  • 10 hrs of lectures and seminars (0,5 ec);

  • 24 hrs of practicals (1 ec);

  • 200 pages of reading (1,5 ec);

  • Portfolio (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Portfolio (individual) (70%);

  • Presentation(s) (30%).

Compensation is possible in accordance with regulations (Onderwijs- en Examen Reglement / Course and Examination Regulations).
The retake consists of improving the portfolio to the ‘pass’ level.

All exam dates (exams, re-sits, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA2 examination schedule.

Reading list

The reading list will be available on BlackBoard.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • Start registration for the BA2 seminars:
    Series 1: 10 September 2018, 07:00 hrs
    Series 2: 7 January 2018, 07:00 hrs
    Series 3: 11 March 2018, 07:00 hrs

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


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


Compulsory attendance.