ARP 3082 – Palaeolithic Pioneers: Adaptation & Colonization in Global Perspective

Module HandbookTransferable Skills

Module Overview:

The need for effective socio‐economic mechanisms of adaptation to global climate instability is now firmly acknowledged as one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. The great time‐depth of past human‐environment interaction available through Archaeology and Palaeoecology is now being increasingly sought by scientists and policy‐makers to provide a crucial perspective on the way we understand and model the effects of global climate change, and in creating ways to respond to it.

The dispersal and colonization of much of the globe by early human groups during the last 120,000 years, and the way humanity has responded and adapted to the often sustained climatic instability of this period, is likely to have been a major contributor in the emergence, diversity and success of behavioural traits among Homo sapiens populations.

In this module we shall examine the Palaeolithic archaeological record of human expansion into a range of global environments (including glacial, tropical, island, desert, newly deglaciated and inundated settings). We shall follow routes taken, some of the driving forces behind migration, and some of the ways that the process of colonizing new environments can be modelled.

The Module will be delivered through a series of lectures and seminar sessions. Within the seminars, students will be expected to contribute to discussions on a range of topics in an effort to develop and focus their critical thinking skills.

Assessment of this Module will be undertaken through the completion of a written essay, a class test, and a critique of a relevant academic article.

Module Co-ordinator: Dr Andrew Shuttleworth


(Image: Tràng An World Heritage site, Ninh Binh, Vietnam – R. Rabett)