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Palaeolithic Europe: An introduction


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

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


This course gives an introduction to the European Palaeolithic record and its wider setting, from the earliest colonisation of Eurasia by early Homo and ending with the archaeology of Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers. The course addresses
1) the key issues in European Palaeolithic studies;
2) the challenges we face trying to make sense of a fragmented fossil and archaeological record;
3) the large-scale taphonomic processes which create archaeological patterns.
The emphasis of the course is on the record of the Neandertals. A writing assignment will force students to focus on one specific topic within the lecture series and to integrate that with the other issues discussed during the course.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of European Palaeolithic archaeological record, in the wider setting of Pleistocene climate change and the colonisation of the Old World;

  • Insight in the relationship between large-scale physical geographical processes and the formation of the archaeological record;

  • Ability to assess the nature and quality of the archaeological evidence for the European Palaeolithic, and demonstrate the potential and limitations of the data with regard to the key current research questions.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Literature study (required reading before each lecture).

Assessment method

Written examination on the basis of lectures and reading list.

Reading list

Reading list (on Blackboard). In preparation for this class, students are advised to study R. Klein’s The Human Career (3rd edition).


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 J.W.M. Roebroeks.