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World Archaeology 2.1: Holocene European Prehistory



Bachelor year 1.


The lecture series World Archaeology gives an outline of the human past from our early ancestors to large-scale and complex societies.
World Archaeology 2.1 focuses on the rise of European societies after the Ice Age, before the adoption of writing. We will address key developments such as:

  • How did global warming transform society?

  • How and why did people become farmers?

  • How massive migrations shaped Europe

  • The rise of “ritual” landscapes

  • The emergence of hierarchies and social inequality

  • Ethnicity in Barbarian Europe; who are the Celts?

You will get basic knowledge on key discoveries, chronology and key sites, and find out how to link these to fundamental concerns of our own time, such as global warming and ethnicity.

Set-up of the course

Daily schedule:
9-11 hrs: lectures Dutch and English
10-12 hrs: tutorial
12-13 hrs: wrap-up / q&a (all students)

Course objectives

The student has basic knowledge of

  • the key developments in the prehistory of Europe in the Holocene;

  • their general chronology;

  • he main archaeological periods (Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age and characteristic artefacts)

The student is able to

  • Analyse the basic arguments behind the key developments discussed in class and in the textbook;

  • Summarize the core of the archaeological problem;

  • Express why these developments are so significant for understanding the later history of society in Europe.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Assignments; these have the function to teach you how to grasp the essentials of the issues raised in the lectures and textbook. In tutorials, students study the literature with a teaching assistant;

  • In the wrap-up sessions, we discuss the answers to the assignments, thus helping you to master the information in the textbook by dividing it into manageable chunks.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 12 hours of lectures/seminars (1 ec);

  • Assignments (0.5 ec);

  • 140 pages of literature (1 ec).

Assessment method

Multiple choice exam (100%)

During the course there will be 3 assignments all students have to submit through BlackBoard. Each assignment can get the student a bonus of 0.2 for their final grade.

A retake of the exam is only possible in case of a fail (conform our teaching rules and regulations) and only when the requirements of attendance and assignments are met. Compensation between the grades of WA2.1 and WA 2.2 is only possible if the individual grades are a 5.0 or higher.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA1 examination schedule.
Deadlines for assignments are included in the course syllabus.

Reading list

Chapters 6 (From foragers to farmers), 12 (Holocene Europe), 20 (Retrospect and prospect) of C. Scarre (ed.), The Human Past. World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies. Thames & Hudson. FOURTH EDITION 2018!


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. D.R. (David) Fontijn.


Compulsory attendance during lectures and tutorials. Upon missing more than one lecture/tutorial the student will be excluded from the exam.