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Neolithisation in the Near East


Compulsory attendance


Prerequisites and restrictions

Completed bachelor’s degree.


The Neolithic (ca. 10,000-5,300 BC) is one of the most crucial periods in the history of the Near East, associated with major social, economic and material innovations and important changes in the archaeological record. In this course we will study the current archaeological views on this period of early village formation. Attention will be given to: Epipalaeolithic forager communities; Neolithic origins; Neolithic expansion and food production; transitions and transformations; pots-and-people associations in the late Neolithic; regional mega-centres; pastoralism and mobility; Neolithic monuments and ritual; Neolithic administration and (in)equality; and burial practices in the Neolithic.

Learning outcomes

  • Detailed knowledge of cultural developments in the Neolithic Near East mentioned above, on the basis of the assigned literature, lectures, assignments and discussions;

  • Detailed knowledge of the current literature, current debates and the archaeological approaches in it;

  • Ability to critically assess current research and assigned literature and voice one’s properly argumented opinion;

  • Ability to choose a research topic, find relevant literature, apply current views on one’s own research topic and present this via a PowerPoint presentation, ability to handle a stimulating discussion afterwards;

  • Ability to write a balanced and critical essay on one’s research topic, with expression of a critically assessment of the literature and one’s own properly argumented opinion, making use of the feedback received with the presentation.

Mode of delivery

Following the introductory lecture there will be individual assignments dealing with specific research questions and research items concerning the Neolithic Near East. The topics of research will be dealt with in the form of student class presentations, the reading of books/articles, and a subsequent essay (4,000 words).


  • Active participation in class discussions;

  • Quality of student class presentation;

  • Reading of assigned literature;

  • Quality of essay.

Reading list

To be announced.

Time schedule

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