Institute of Archaeology

Themes in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology

Aims of the course

This course will provide essential background on a range of topics necessary for graduate study in the fields of Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology. It will be taught by UCL’s leading specialists in the fields concerned. The topics will include:

  • the interpretive history of palaeoanthropology and palaeolithic archaeology.
  • aspects of primate behaviour, adaptation and evolution.
  • recent hunter-gatherer lifeways and the use of ethnoarchaeology and experimental archaeology.
  • environmental history, faunal communities and palaeoecology.
  • taphonomy and site formation processes.
  • the human fossil record and the evolution of human life history.
  • the role of genetic evidence in studying human evolution.
  • lithic technology, subsistence strategies and cognitive evolution.
  • case studies drawn from various time periods.


On successful completion of this course, students will:

  • have a very strong foundation for graduate study in the fields of palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic archaeology.
  • be knowledgable about the methodological and analytical tools, and the theoretical models which have been used in reconstructing the human evolutionary past.
  • be able to review and critically appraise a wide range of primary and secondary sources and data relating to these fields.

Learning Outcomes

  • a detailed knowledge of human biological and cultural evolution.
  • expansion of written and oral skills in communicating complex ideas and data-sets derived from these academic disciplines.
  • ability to critically evaluate evidence and arguments regarding issues in human evolution.

Teaching Methods

This 1.0 element course will be taught weekly through the autumn and spring terms in 20 two hour sessions. Lecturers may vary in their presentation format, but each session is likely to begin with a lecture and be followed by a discussion.

Course information

  • Code: ARCLG179
  • Credits: 30
  • Coordinator: Andrew Garrard
  • Prerequisite: There are no formal prerequisites for this course.
  • Handbook: open»

For registered students


  • Running in 2017-18

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