Accessibility statement

Mesolithic Lifeways


Module leader: Steph Piper


This module aims to provide an exciting, fresh new approach to Mesolithic studies, in that it will investigate how people may have lived their everyday lives. This is in contrast to some other approaches which focus on environment or lithics and forget about the people! We will start with an introduction to the history of the discipline and discuss why the Mesolithic is an interesting period to study. We then move on to examining evidence for structures; looking at climate and environmental change; considering landscape approaches; studying ways in which people hunted, gathered and fished; how this relates to diet and consumption practices; the sorts of artefacts people made and used; art and amulets that have been found (including the Star Carr pendant); and finally violence within and between groups, and health. The module draws upon some of the most up to date research including recent excavations at Star Carr.


  • To critically examine the ways in which Mesolithic lifeways are interpreted
  • To develop research, analytical and presentational skills

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module students should:

  • Be able to critically evaluate settlement practices and the use of structures in the landscape
  • Have a good understanding of the different ways in which economy, diet and consumption are studied
  • Have critically evaluated interpretations concerning human/animal interactions
  • Have a good understanding of environmental change and major events, and their impact on Mesolithic people
  • Have a good knowledge of Mesolithic technology, how items were made and were used
  • Be able to critically discuss the ways in which dominant theoretical approaches in archaeology have impacted on Mesolithic research
  • Have developed their writing skills through assessed essays
  • Have presented their research through seminar presentations