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World archaeology 4: Human origins



The lecture series World archaeology provides a chronological overview of the general development of humankind and society from the first humans to complex societies. The book The Human Past is used throughout the course.
From this broad basis, accents in the lectures are applied from the Leiden study programme.

This series focuses on the development of the human species and hominids from an ecological view.

Course objectives

Knowledge of:

  • the chronological and geographic framework of the development of different humans and hominids and their material context, as addressed in the lectures and the book;

  • evolutionary processes;

  • the site formation processes that played a role in the formation of the Early Palaeolithic database.


Course schedule details can be found in the propedeuse/first year time schedule.

Mode of instruction


Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

Assessment method

Written exam with multiple choice questions.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

  • C. Scarre, (ed.), The Human Past. World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies. Thames & Hudson, 3rd edition (2013);

  • Additional articles.


Registration for the course is not necessary, registration for the exam is mandatory. For instructions, see the Registration in uSis page.

Registration ‘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).


For more information about this course, please contact prof. dr. J.W.M. Roebroeks.