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Palaeolithic Europe: An introduction


Compulsory attendance


Prerequisites and restrictions

BA degree (or equivalent) in archaeology or a relevant discipline.
SAP and exchange students: admission after approval by the Graduate School of Archaeology.


This course provides an in-depth introduction to the Palaeolithic record of Europe and its wider setting, with a heavy emphasis on the archaeology and ecology of Neandertals.
Beginning with the earliest stone tools in Africa it addresses various dimensions of the hominin colonisation of the Old World, zooming in on the European evidence and the development of the Neandertal lineage. Considerable attention will be paid to studies of Pleistocene stratigraphy and palaeoenvironments.
The Neandertal record will be compared with records created by modern humans, and similarities and differences will be discussed and interpreted within a behavioural ecology framework.

Learning outcomes

  • Obtaining in-depth knowledge of the Old World Palaeolithic record with a heavy emphasis on changes in the archaeological record;

  • Obtaining in-depth knowledge of Pleistocene stratigraphy and environments;

  • Understanding of Neandertal ecology;

  • Improvement of skills in analysis and expository writing by the production of two concise, well-organized papers supported by relevant evidence.

Mode of delivery

Lecture course with extensive literature study, introduction to Palaeolithic lithic materials and faunal remains through practical assignments, two written assignments.


  • Active participation;

  • Two written assignments.

Reading list

To be announced.

Time schedule

Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.
Exam dates can be found in the examination schedule.