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This course provides a romping introduction to the deep human past, from our earliest hominin origins in Africa to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms in Northern Europe. Along the way we will discover the key stages in the evolution of our species and what it means to be 'human', from our use of symbols to express thoughts, ritualstic behaviours to our domestication of plants and animals and militarized empires. The archaeological evidence for these fundamental transitions in human societies provides us with powerful insights into some of the world's most fascinating civilizations.
|Session||Second Sub Session||Credit Points||15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)|
This course will introduce you to the key concepts of what it is to be human, what constitutes 'complexity' in past human societies, and how the trajectories that lead to the development of complex societies differed around the world. By the end of the course, you will be able to: explain the key stages and mechanisms in the evolution of Homo sapiens; outline the key dates, geographical locations and environmental contexts of different hominin species; discuss early prehistoric subsistence strategies and tool technologies, and how these developed over time; explain the earliest evidence for art, religion, abstract reasoning, and human cognition; name and explain the most important transitions in human (pre)history, including global dispersals, the origins of agriculture and writing, and the emergence of urban life, social elites, and state polities, drawing on examples from around the world; outline the most important changes that were taking place in human societies in each of the key stages in Northern European and British prehistory, from the Palaeolithic Period, through the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age, to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms.