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Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology

Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology



Dr Philip Nigst


The Course

This course provides a foundation in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology. We start with the emergence of the first evidence of hominin material culture 2.5 million years ago. We then move on to the evolution, adaptations, and dispersals of hominins in Africa and into the rest of the Old World. We examine in detail the emergence and dispersal of anatomically modern humans, giving particular focus on the diversity of their cultures and adaptations in different parts of the Old World. We will finish with how people made sense of and responded to the dramatic environmental changes that occurred leading up to the end of the last ice age 11,500 years ago.  Students will be expected to acquire a good foundation in Early Prehisotric archaeology, including theoretical approaches to the subject, methods of analysis, material culture, and the different hominin species that created this record.


The Theme

  • Initial hominin colonization of Eurasia
  • Palaeolithic Transitions

  • Palaeolithic “Art”
  • The Peopling of the Americas
  • Archaeological signatures of dispersal and contact
  • Continuity and change after the Ice Age


The Structure

MPhil modules can either be one term or two terms (1T/2T) long. Students must complete the equivalent of three two-term modules:

(a)   Palaeolithic Archaeology (2T)

(b)   Archaeological Concepts (1T) plus one other one term module

(c)   Either one two term module or two one term modules offered in the Department of Archaeology, subject to the instructor's consent and the approval of the MPhil co-ordinators.

In addition, students take the Research Skills module and write a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology.


For further information, contact Dr Philip Nigst, co-ordinator for this option.