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HARC 0310 Early Human Archaeology

This tutorial examines human origins and the archaeology of early hunter gatherers.  How did humanity evolve, and spread to colonise the globe from its tropical African roots? How did early human societies function before the start of agriculture, some 10,000 years ago? How did different groups (and even species) of early humans co-exist, and what happened when they met? These questions stand central to this introductory course in human evolution and early hunter-gatherer societies. Taking a global perspective and drawing extensively on both archaeology and anthropology, it addresses the specific challenges of Palaeolithic archaeology, embracing new developments in method and theory. Possible key sites include Swanscombe, Boxgrove and Creswell Crags in England, the Neandertal in Germany, Altamira in Spain, Lascaux in France, Blombos Cave in South Africa and Hadar in Ethiopia.

This tutorial will also include visits to the Palaeolithic collections at the Ashmolean Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum, both a short walk from St Michael’s Hall.

Sample reading:

Coward, F., Hosfield, R., Pope, M. and Wenban-Smith, F. 2015. Settlement, society and cognition in human evolution: landscapes in mind. Cambridge University Press.


Papagianni, D., Layton, R. and Maschner, H. 2008. Time and change: archaeological and anthropological perspectives on the long-term in hunter-gatherer societies. Oxbow.

Pettitt, P. and M. White. 2012. The British Palaeolithic: hominin societies at the edge of the Pleistocene world. Routledge.

Stringer, C.B. 2006. Homo Britannicus: the Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain. Allen Lane, London.

Stringer, C.B. 2012. The Origin of our Species. Penguin Books, London.

This experience cannot be contained by words
The academic reasons for studying with Oxford professors stands by itself as the number one reason someone should want to engage in this program, but ...
Katherine Ciesla, Autumn Semester 2010, Elmhurst College