AR3P1-The Neanderthals

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: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Rob Hosfield

Email: r.hosfield@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
«p»The module aims to provide you with an understanding of the evolution and behaviour of the Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) as reconstructed from the archaeological and fossil records. You will develop your knowledge of the methods used for analysing and interpreting evidence from the early prehistoric archaeological record, and will examine how different sources of evidence are used in combination to reconstruct Neanderthal technology, subsistence, environments, lifestyles and cognition. You will also acquire an understanding of the history of Neanderthal studies and appreciate how issues involved in Neanderthal palaeoanthropology and archaeology encapsulate general problems and challenges relating to the study of human evolution. The module will be delivered through a mixture of lectures, staff and student-led seminar sessions (general discussions and student presentations), practical activities and field trips. Individual coursework assessments will emphasise Middle Palaeolithic archaeological data-sets (site report), Neanderthal anatomy (critical review), and the overall module themes (seminar presentation).«/p»

Aims:

The module aims to provide you with an understanding of the evolution and behaviour of the Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) as reconstructed from the archaeological and fossil records. You will develop your knowledge of the methods used for analysing and interpreting evidence from the early prehistoric archaeological record, and will examine how different sources of evidence are used in combination to reconstruct Neanderthal technology, subsistence, environments, lifestyles and cognition. You will also acquire an understanding of the history of Neanderthal studies and appreciate how issues involved in Neanderthal palaeoanthropology and archaeology encapsulate general problems and challenges relating to the study of human evolution.


Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that you will be able: 

  • To critically review and evaluate the evidence for, and interpretation(s) of, one aspect of Neanderthal skeletal morphology;
  • To design investigative strategies appropriate for Middle Palaeolithic sites and data;
  • To analyse and interpret Middle Palaeolithic data-sets;
  • To assess the nature and quality of archaeological, palaeoenvironmental and/or palaeoanthropological evidence for, and associated interpretations of, the Neanderthals and the Middle Palaeolithic period, with reference to specific archaeological sites and fossil specimens;
  • To develop your knowledge and understanding of topics introduced in lectures and seminars through further independent study and learning;
  • To organise your knowledge, demonstrate understanding, and articulate your arguments effectively, both orally and in writing. 


 


Additional outcomes:

Your oral and communication skills will also be enhanced through the seminar discussions and through your assessed seminar presentation. Your will also develop your IT skills through preparing for the seminar presentation, through researching textual and visual sources for all your written coursework, and through generating and evaluating the data for your site report.


Outline content:

Following an introductory session the module will be organised thematically, covering both palaeoanthropological and archaeological topics. Palaeoanthropological themes include the origins of the Neanderthals, their distinctive skeletal morphology, current thinking about their so-called ‘cold adaptation’, and their life history models. Archaeological themes include Neanderthal technology (both lithic and organic) and models of its variability, subsistence strategies (including the increasingly important role of isotope studies), behaviour at the site and landscape scale, the nature and interpretation of Neanderthal burials and the increasing evidence for symbolic practices, Neanderthal cognition and language, and finally the timings and reasons for the Neanderthal disappearance. Further module themes include the palaeoenvironments and climates of the Middle and Late Pleistocene; the increasingly significant palaeogenetic record; and the history of Neanderthal study, including changing attitudes to the species, their use in popular culture, and how these reflect wider trends in academia and society.  



Evidence explored in the module will range from Neanderthal genetic and skeletal data, to Middle Palaeolithic stone and organic tools and food remains, to sediments and the biological remains of Middle and Late Pleistocene palaeoenvironments. Evidence will be drawn from across the Neanderthal world (Europe and SW Asia).



Background reading list:




  • Mellars, P. 1996. The Neanderthal Legacy: An archaeological perspective from Western Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Chapter 12.

  • Papagianni, D. & Morse, M.A. 2013. The Neanderthals Rediscovered. London: Thames & Hudson.

  • Stringer, C. & Gamble, C.S. 1993. In Search of the Neanderthals. London: Thames & Hudson. Chapters 1-2.

  • Trinkaus, E. & Shipman, P. 1994. The Neanderthals: changing the image of mankind. London: Pimlico. Chapter 1.


Global context:

Evidence and examples will be drawn from across the Neanderthal world (Europe and SW Asia).


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be taught primarily through lectures and discussion and presentation seminars. The module will also include practical sessions, based around the Department’s lithic and hominin skull reference collections and a knapping session. The module fieldtrip is to the Middle Palaeolithic artefact collections of the British Museum and/or the human evolution galleries of the Natural History Museum.

As a 20 credit module, The Neanderthals should involve 200 hours of study time: attending lectures and seminars, general background reading, preparing for seminars, reading and data analysis for your coursework, and coursework writing (and re-writing!). You should therefore expect the following sort of workload:



- 30 hours: Contact hours in formal teaching sessions (lectures & seminars);

- 100 hours: General background reading and note-taking from key texts for each week’s topic(s) - i.e. 10 hours per week;

- 60 hours: Reading for, preparation of (including data analysis), and writing your coursework;

- 10 hours: Reading and note-taking for general discussion seminar topics.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14
Seminars 9
Practicals classes and workshops 5
External visits 2
Guided independent study 170
       
Total hours by term 200.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 60
Project output other than dissertation 30
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:

You will: write one site report summarising an excavation strategy for, and evaluating the resulting data from, the Neanderthal site of Combe Capelle (3,000 words); write a critical review on one aspect of Neanderthal skeletal morphology (2,000 words); deliver one seminar presentation, and participate regularly in seminar discussions. The site report (60%), critical review (30%), and seminar presentation and seminar performance (10%) count towards your assessment. The critical review and site report 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 in the Spring Term and 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 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:

    Requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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