Institute of Archaeology

Evolution of Palaeolithic and Neolithic Societies in the Near East


The course will provide an in-depth study of the evolution of Palaeolithic and Neolithic societies in the Near East from earliest human colonization until the establishment of mixed-farming villages.

The course will examine:

  • the role of the region in the dispersal of hominin species from Africa into Eurasia;
  • the nature of Neanderthal and early modern societies in Western Asia and their possible interaction;
  • late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer adaptations and the emergence of sedentism;
  • the origins of plant and animal domestication;
  • the emergence of village-based farming societies and the social and ideological changes associated with these major developments.

Aims of the course

The course will examine the evolution and development of Palaeolithic and Neolithic societies in the Near East from earliest human colonization until the widespread establishment of farming villages. This will be explored against a backdrop of changing environments and in relation to the demographic, economic and social contexts of the various periods.


On successful completion of this course, students will:

  • be knowledgeable about the key developments in human societies through the Pleistocene and early Holocene of the Near East.
  • have an understanding of the nature of the evidence and the ways in which it has been collected and analysed.
  • have a critical appreciation of the range of models which have been used in its interpretation.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have expanded:

  • their skills in evaluating regional data-bases, and the techniques and models used in their analysis and interpretation.
  • their experience in articulating complex ideas and information in written and oral presentations.
  • their abilities to design and undertake original research.

Teaching Methods

This 0.5 element course will be taught weekly during one term in 10 two hour sessions. Each will begin with a lecture, followed by 1-2 short student presentations and an open discussion. The presentations will normally involve a critical review of 1-2 articles and will be agreed in the week preceding the seminar.

Course information

  • Code: ARCLG181
  • Credits: 15
  • Coordinator: Andrew Garrard
  • Prerequisite: This course does not have a prerequisite, however, if students have no previous background in early prehistory they might find it helpful to attend undergraduate classes in related topics. Suitable possibilities can be discussed with the Co-ordinator.
  • Handbook: open»

For registered students


  • Not running in 2017-18

Bookmark and Share