Palaeolithic Archaeology of Homo Sapiens 100,000-12,000 BP (ARC2131)

15 credits

Latest evidence suggests our species Homo sapiens has lived on planet earth for around 350,000 years, with >95% of this existence dominated by hunter-gatherer lifeways often in global climatic contexts very different from the Holocene interglacial climate of today. Studying the human experience of these Palaeolithic periods before the advent of farming is therefore critical to understanding the human condition.

This module will focus on the Palaeolithic archaeology of Homo sapiens, with particular attention given to the period after 100,000 BP and the Upper Palaeolithic of Eurasia. You will engage with a series of key topics including the lifeways of Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, climate and environmental reconstruction, the interpretation of Palaeolithic art, use of fire through the latitudes, burials and status, dwelling construction, and the recent revolutions in ancient DNA studies that are continuing to revolutionise our understanding of this period.

The module will be taught assuming no prior knowledge of Palaeolithic archaeology.