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Advanced Current Issues in Quaternary Research


Admission requirements

Admission to the RMA Archaeology programme.


The idea behind this course is for it to act as a bridge from student to early career academic. You will be exposed to a conference setting. You will research a topic, write an essay, an extended abstract, produce a PowerPoint presentation, and deliver the presentation to an audience. Students who are not presenting will read the relevant literature provided by the speaking students, and ask the speakers questions.

During the course, 3 mini conferences will take place, relating to current Quaternary research and climate change in the Middle and Late Pleistocene and Holocene in Europe. A visiting senior academic, active in the investigation of climate change of the 3 periods, will be present at each mini conference. This senior academic will also present, ask questions, and participate in the resulting discussions.

This course will be attended by both MSc and RMSc Bioarchaeology students. Although participating in the same lectures/mini conferences, the assignments for the RMSc-students will be different. They will write a different type of essay and give another presentation, in which the topic is studied in more depth, critically reviewed and new directions for research are formulated.

Course objectives

  • To gain up-to-date knowledge of climate change during the past 1 million years in Europe, and to understand its relevance to hominins and humans;

  • Ability to independently research literature on a given theme;

  • To understand (recent) geological climate fluctuations and their relationship to present climate change and climate forecasts;

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

  • Ability to present and write a thematic essay that contains a critical assessment of the literature, and includes the student’s own properly argumented opinion;

  • Ability to critically review the significance of current research;

  • Ability to report such reviews in writing in an essay;

  • Ability to formulate innovative new directions of research.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Self-instruction under supervision;

  • In a conference setting: discuss, ask questions, and deliver an oral presentation on a theme.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14 hours of seminars (1 ec);

  • Ca. 280 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • Presentation (1 ec);

  • Essay of ca. 1,500 words (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Active participation (30%);

  • Presentation (PowerPoint and skills) (30%);

  • Essay (40%).

There is only a retake for the essay.

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

Reading list

To be compiled by the students.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. M.H. (Mike) Field or dr. L. (Laura) Llorente Rodriguez.


Compulsory attendance.