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Ecology 2


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements



In this course students will learn how to interpret palaeobotanical data (botanical macro fossils and pollen). Information will be given on the development of fauna, and domestication. The course includes practical lessons. In this practical, students will be confronted with pollen analysis, botanical macro fossils and malacology (mollusks).

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the basic principles of taxonomy (what is taxonomy, who is Linneaus, etc.);

  • Knowledge of the paleaobotanical techniques used to reconstruct past landscapes, including plant macrofossil analysis and palynology;

  • Understanding of how to interpret palaeobotanical data and make palaeo-environmental (including palaeoclimate) reconstructions;

  • To investigate the domestication of plants;

  • To learn about the archaeo-zoological techniques used to reconstruct the past (including skeleton, bone, teeth analysis where appropriate from humans, mammals both large and small, birds and fish);

  • To understand how skeletal material can inform archaeologists about seasonality and palaeo-economy;

  • Knowledge of domestication;

  • To examine the evolution of certain animals in the Quaternary Period and discover what evolution is, why and when it occurs, and what mechanisms prompt evolution.


  • To become familiar with the handling of fossils and using microscopes;

  • To learn to be able to distinguish different fossil types from one another (e.g. bone, antler, seed, shell and wood);

  • To acquire a knowledge of how to identify some specimens in each fossil type.


Course schedule details can be found in the bachelor 2 time schedule.
Exam dates can be found in the examination schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Tutorial;

  • Practical.

Assessment method

Written exam. There is the possibility for students to take the English exam in Dutch.

Reading list

To be handed out in class.


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

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).

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr M. van Kolfschoten or dr M.H. Field.