AR3P22-The First Europeans: The Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology of the Lower Palaeolithic

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Rob Hosfield

Email: r.hosfield@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The First Europeans: The Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology of the Lower Palaeolithic will introduce you to, and develop your knowledge of, the archaeology and hominins of this period. This will be achieved through a mixture of lectures, staff and student-led discussion seminar sessions, practical activities, field trips, and individual coursework assessments. Lectures will provide core knowledge regarding the chronology, hominins, sites, material culture and palaeoenvironments of the period, while the discussion seminars, practical sessions and field trips will develop understanding of key themes. These include archaeology (e.g. the earliest occupation of Western Europe and the Acheulean/Clactonian debate), Middle Pleistocene hominin evolution (e.g. encephalisation and new life history stages), environment (e.g. the nature of Middle Pleistocene landscapes and habitats), geology (e.g. the formation of Lower Palaeolithic 'sites'), and methodology (e.g. the different techniques for investigating the Lower Palaeolithic). The coursework assessments will develop your research and presentational skills, including writing for different, non-academic, audiences.

Preparatory Reading
- McNabb, J. The British Lower Palaeolithic: Stones in Contention. Abingdon: Routledge. Chapters 1-2.
- Pettitt, P. & White, M.J. 2012. The British Palaeolithic: Human Societies at the Edge of the Pleistocene World. London: Routledge. Chapter 1.
- Stringer, C. 2006. Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain. London: Penguin. Introduction & Chapters 1-3.
- Wymer, J.J. 1999. The Lower Palaeolithic Occupation of Britain. Salisbury: Wessex Archaeology & English Heritage. Chapters 1 & 2.

Aims:
This module aims to provide you with an understanding and knowledge of the Lower Palaeolithic period in Western Europe, including key aspects of hominins (e.g. skeletal morphology) and their behaviour (e.g. technologies and subsistence), Pleistocene chronologies, landscapes and environments, and the techniques used to investigate the period.

Preparatory Reading
- McNabb, J. The British Lower Palaeolithic: Stones in Contention. Abingdon: Routledge. Chapters 1-2.
- Pettitt, P. & White, M.J. 2012. The British Palaeolithic: Human Societies at the Edge of the Pleistocene World. London: Routledge. Chapter 1.
- Stringer, C. 2006. Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain. London: Penguin. Introduction & Chapters 1-3.
- Wymer, J.J. 1999. The Lower Palaeolithic Occupation of Britain. Salisbury: Wessex Archaeology & English Heritage. Chapters 1 & 2.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, it is expected that you will be able:

•To analyse and present Lower Palaeolithic sites and/or data;
•To assess the nature and quality of archaeological and/or palaeoanthropological evidence for the Western European Lower Palaeolithic;
•To evaluate different interpretive frameworks and/or investigative techniques applied to archaeological and/or palaeoanthropological evidence for the Lower Palaeolithic in Western Europe;
•To develop knowledge and understanding of topics introduced in lectures and seminars through further independent study and learning;
•To organise knowledge and demonstrate understanding through written coursework and seminar presentations;
•To critically select and present archaeological and/or palaeoanthropological evidence appropriate for different, non-academic, audiences.

Additional outcomes:
Participation in seminars will enable you to develop and apply your communication and presentation skills through structured discussion sessions and individual presentations. Your research and analytical skills will be developed through participation in the seminars and practical sessions, and through completion of the written coursework components (individual essay, press release, and web-page for schools).

Outline content:
The module focuses upon themes relevant to the current study of Lower Palaeolithic archaeology and hominins in Western Europe (technology, subsistence, life history, settlement histories, spatial structuring of behaviour). In outlining these themes the module also emphasises the varied geological contexts of the available archaeological evidence, and the relationships between the structure of the data and the questions which can be realistically answered. Regional and site-based data and specific examples from France, Germany, Spain and the UK (e.g. Soucy, Schöningen and Bilzingsleben, Atapuerca, Boxgrove and Swanscombe) will support the presentation and discussion of these themes.

Archaeological (e.g. lithic and zooarchaeological assemblages), palaeoanthropological (e.g. hominin fossil specimens) and geological/environmental (e.g. landscape fragments and biological proxies) evidence are presented throughout the module, alongside methodological and theoretical frameworks (e.g. the short vs. long chronology for the earliest European occupation; life history modelling) which have influenced the interpretation of the data.

The module also adopts a site-based and regional approach to the examination of the earliest period of European colonisation - the Lower Palaeolithic. The archaeology of the Palaeolithic period is characterised by a mixture of short-lived primary context archaeology (e.g. individual lithic scatters) and large-scale spatial and chronological data palimpsests. The impacts of these contrasting scales of analysis upon behavioural models and research methods are emphasised, e.g. with reference to the value of site-based approaches in understanding tool-making, raw material exploitation and subsistence strategies, and to the importance of regional data in the study of hominin colonisation patterns and settlement histories. Spatial scales of analysis will therefore vary from the individual site to inter-regional comparisons.

Global context:
This module explores the archaeology and environments of Western Europe's earliest humans, using examples and case studies from both Britain and the near continent (e.g. France, Spain and Germany).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, seminars with structured discussions based upon prepared reading and individual presentations, and practical, artefact-based, sessions. A field trip will be arranged to the Reading Museum stores (or to the British Museum) to view their British Lower Palaeolithic artefact collections. A second field trip will be arranged to view the Middle Pleistocene landscape remnants in and around Reading. Individual coursework feedback sessions will be offered in early Summer Term. Individual feedback on seminar presentations will be provided by email.

As a 20 credit module, The First Europeans: The Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology of the Lower Palaeolithic should involve 200 hours of study time: attending lectures, seminars, practical sessions and field trips; general background reading; preparing for seminars; and reading for, and writing, your written coursework (essay, press release, and school webpage). You should therefore expect the following sort of workload:

- 30 hours: Contact hours in formal teaching sessions (lectures, seminars, practicals and field trips);
- 60 hours: General background reading and note-taking from key texts for each week’s topic(s) - i.e. 6 hours per week;
- 40 hours: Reading for, preparation of, and writing your essay;
- 25 hours: Reading for, preparation of, and writing your press release and school webpage;
- 15 hours: Reading, note-taking, and preparation of your seminar presentation;
- 30 hours: Reading and note-taking for seminar topics - i.e. 3 hours per seminar.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 12
Seminars 10
Practicals classes and workshops 4
External visits 4
Guided independent study 170
       
Total hours by term 200.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 90
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:
You will: write one essay of 4,000 words; write (1) a press release and (2) an educational web-page for schools, both based on a key Lower Palaeolithic research issue (1,000 words in total); deliver one seminar presentation, and participate regularly in seminar discussions. The essay (60%), press release and webpage (30%), and seminar presentation and seminar performance (10%) count towards your assessment. The essay, press release and web-page will be submitted in the middle and second half of the Spring Term, on dates set by the Department. Individual feedback on written coursework will be offered at the start of the Summer Term. Individual feedback on seminar presentations will be provided by e-mail during the Spring Term.

Formative assessment methods:
Formative feedback on general seminar contributions will be provided during the discussion seminars.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

• where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
• where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf

You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    NA

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-assessment in August.

    (Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements [i.e. re-submission of all written coursework elements], even if they have previously passed one of those elements.)

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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