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Research Seminar: Current Issues in the Palaeolithic


Admission requirements


The idea behind this course is for it to act as a bridge from student to early career academic.
The emphasis will be on the student to research and develop 2 out of 4 proposed themes. The results of this endeavour will be presented in 2 lectures using a PowerPoint to an audience in a conference type setting.

If you have presented at a conference you are often expected to write a paper for publication afterwards on what you have spoken about. This will be the case in this course.
Each student will produce 2 papers, one on each theme they have chosen. In addition, you will be expected to engage in critical (if necessary) discussion on all the 4 themes.

Course objectives

  • To gain knowledge of the cutting issues debated and researched in Palaeolithic archaeology today. Each student will choose 2 of the 4 themes to research, but the whole group will join in the discussions on all the themes.
    The themes that will be covered:
  1. Hominin biogeography in North-Western Europe during the Late Pleistocene
  2. The water’s edge – were hominins semi-aquatic organisms? (an issue of preservation context)
  3. Hominins were omnivores – meat and plants in their diet
  4. Making sense of the hominin fragmentary fossil record dilemma – species concept versus the intermediate form
  • Ability to independently search literature on a given theme;

  • Ability to critically assess current research on each theme of the course, present the outcome, and have the confidence to voice one’s own properly argumented opinion;

  • Ability to critically review the significance of current research;

  • Ability to report such views in a written paper;

  • Ability to formulate innovative directions for further research in the themes.


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

Self-instruction under supervision.

Course load

  • 28 hours of seminars (2 ec);

  • Literature reading for 2 themes (per theme 280 pages) (4 ec);

  • 2 presentations (2 ec);

  • 2 papers of ca. 1800 words (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • Active participation (attendance and participation in the discussions) (20%);

  • 2 lectures (20 + 20%);

  • 2 papers (20 + 20%).

There is only a retake for the papers.

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.

Reading list

To be compiled by the students.


Registration in uSis is mandatory. You can register for this course until 5 days before the first class.

Registration in uSis automatically leads to enrollment in the corresponding Brightspace module. Therefore you do not need to enroll in Brightspace, but make sure to register for this course in uSis.

You are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time. The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, you are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. M.H. (Mike) Field.


Compulsory attendance.