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World Archaeology 1.2: Prehistory of Europe



Bachelor year 1.


The lecture series World Archaeology gives an outline of the deep history of humans and society from our early ancestors to the more complex societies in the world. The role of material culture in society is discussed and shown in many regions and periods. Comparisons between different regions and scales allow us to understand connections between the unique and the global.

People used material culture to shape their world. This type of data can be used to understand past societies, but needs to be treated with care.

This course focuses on current research themes in our faculty: Deep history of Europe.

Lectures may incidentally be replaced by excursions.
The book Europe Between the Oceans is used throughout the course, supplemented by selected pages of The Human Past.

Set-up of the course:
In general the modules are designed as follows:

  • 2 hours of active learning lectures;

  • 4 hours of working on assignments.

Course objectives

  • Basic knowledge of the deep history of Europe;

  • Basic understanding of contrasts and different perspectives on World Archaeology themes;

  • Basic understanding of the current debates and challenges in archaeology;

  • How people used material culture to shape their world;

  • Understanding the nature and variety of archaeological evidence, such as tools, household items, pictures, structures of houses, burials, ecological changes and genetic variations;

  • Knowledge of the nature of archaeological data and the regional and temporal variations in settlements, economies, and cultural organisation;

  • General knowledge of and insight into technological, social and cultural developments in time per region (in burial rituals, settlements, economic developments, social organisation).


Course schedule details can be found in the BA1 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Active learning by discussion in class; the use of a mobile phone or laptop is obligatory;

  • Active learning by doing assignments aimed at understanding how archaeologists use and interpret data, aided by teaching assistants;

  • Excursion.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 16 contact hours (0,5 ec);

  • 56 hours of course preparation, assignments, literature (2 ec).

Assessment method

Each World Archaeology course focuses on 2 regional themes/research areas. Each of the 2 themes will be assessed separately. Compensation within this course, between the two exams, is possible according to the rules stated in the Education and Examination Regulations (OER) (minimum grade 5.0).

This part of the course will be concluded with

  • assignments (10%);

  • attendance (10%);

  • exam (80%).

All exam dates (exams, re-sits, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA1 examination schedule.

Reading list

  • B. Cunliffe, Europe Between the Oceans, 9000 BC-1000 AD. Yale University Press (2011);

  • C. Scarre (ed.), The Human Past. World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies. Thames & Hudson, 3rd edition (2013).


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.

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

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

Registration ‘Contractonderwijs’

All information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. H. (Harry) Fokkens.


Compulsory attendance during tutorials.