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Research seminar: Palaeolithic technology 1


Admission requirements

  • BA or BSc degree obtained;

  • Admission to the RMA-programme.


This research seminar addresses aspects of cultural adaptations of Palaeolithic hominins, using various case studies from ongoing multidisciplinary research of staff members.
The seminar has a strong focus on the Neanderthal record, and includes discussions of the role of fire in the development of the hominin niche and how to study its use and production in the deep past.

Course objectives

  • Working knowledge of a wide range of approaches for studying the technology of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, including stone tool technology;

  • Learning to deal with conflicting data and interpretations in the context of scientific debates;

  • Background knowledge necessary to understand relevant research in other disciplines, including genetics/biology, understanding of the significance of these disciplines in human origins research, and developing ideas about ways this can be applied to questions about human origins;

  • Insight into planning a research project, writing a proposal, and developing ideas for future research.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Practical exercises and assignments;

  • Discussion meetings.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14×2 hours of lectures, discussion meetings and practical exercises;

  • 560 pages of literature;

  • 2 papers presenting the results of case studies assigned to the candidate.

Assessment method

  • Presentations and discussions during the seminar from specialised reading;

  • Final written paper.

Assessment will focus primarily on oral presentations and discussions in class. The course starts with an introductory class and ends with an introduction to the final assignment. Participation in each class is mandatory and included in the calculation of your final grade.

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

Reading list

The reading list will be published on BlackBoard.


Registration for the course or the exam is not required.


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


Compulsory attendance.