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Climate change during the Quaternary Period in Europe


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Degree students (including Dutch BA graduates): BA degree (or equivalent) in Archaeology or a relevant discipline.
SAP and Exchange Students: BA degree. Admission only after formal application.


Palaeobotanical and palaeofaunal data collected from terrestrial sequences has been used to reconstruct past climate. This course will introduce the techniques used to reconstruct various climatic variables during the last two million years in Europe from faunal, palynological and plant macrofossil data. In addition, case studies will be used to show how such investigations have contributed to our understanding of climate fluctuations during this time. Where evidence allows the magnitude and rate of change of these climate changes will be examined. The relevance of an understanding of recent geological climate fluctuations will also be highlighted related to present climate change and climate forecasts.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the techniques used to reconstruct the various climatic variables during the last two million years in Europe with help of palaeobotanical and palaeofaunal data;

  • Ability to apply these techniques on case studies/literature;

  • Understand (recent) geological climate fluctuations and their relation to present climate change and climate forecasts;

  • Ability to critically assess research on climate fluctuations, present this and voice one’s own properly argumented opinion;

  • Ability to write a paper on this subject, with expression of a critical assessment of the literature and one’s own properly argumented opinion.


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

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Written examination;

  • Presentation.

Reading list

To be announced.


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

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

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.