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Advanced themes in archaeology


Admission requirements

Admission to the RMA-programme Archaeology.


The 2016-2017 course takes as point of departure research carried out within the Human Origins group, which studies the archaeological record of Prehistoric hunter-gatherers, with a time depth of more than 3 million years.
As any historical record of human behaviour, the Palaeolithic record is strongly biased, e.g. by research history, geological processes and recent political developments. Nevertheless, the field of palaeoanthropology is making spectacular progress in unravelling the development of the human niche, as presented during the lectures.

The course will also show that the problems encountered by Palaeolithic archaeologists in their study of the biased archaeological record, are similar to the ones that colleagues working in later (including: historical) periods are faced with.
In fact, participants will be explicitly asked to translate and integrate these problems into their own fields of interest and specialisation, and to discuss how our understanding of the deep past could improve from more integrative approaches, transcending established (intra-) disciplinary boundaries, both within and outside of archaeology.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the recent debates concerning various aspects of this year’s theme;

  • Ability to evaluate and discuss the different aspects;

  • Ability to present one’s view in writing.


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

Mode of instruction

Interactive lectures.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures (1 ects);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ects);

  • Assignments (2 ects).

Assessment method

  • Discussion assignments (40%);

  • Final paper (60%).

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

Reading list

To be published on BlackBoard.


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


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


Compulsory attendance.