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Assessed Seminars: Neanderthals - ARC00013H

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Penny Spikins
  • Credit value: 40 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

Whatever image the word 'Neanderthal' conjures up for you - from club-wielding cave-dweller to gentle giant - Neanderthals hold a special fascination for almost everyone. Though a separate species, they were the contemporaries of modern humans like ourselves in Europe for around ten thousand years and the interaction between the two populations has been the topic of heated debate. The archaeological record has been used to suggest radical differences in behaviour such as markedly different hunting practices and subsistence needs, differences in the use of space, and from within sites to landscapes to connections across regions, differing experiences of childhood and family structure and changes in the use of language, art and symbolism, even to deep-rooted differences in cognitive abilities that go beyond simple 'intelligence'.

How different were Neanderthals and why did they die out? In these seminars we will explore some of the evidence for Neanderthal and modern human behaviour at the transition, address some of the key questions and encourage you to decide on your own interpretations.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

The purpose of the Assessed Seminar is to build upon the seminar skills developed in the 1st and 2nd years and, working together as a group, to allow students to organise and run a seminar on a subject of their own choice, within their seminar option.

The Assessed Seminars aim to develop students understanding of the topic (particularly a critical understanding of the key themes, approaches and opinions), improve their knowledge of the subject area (through reading and preparation for their own seminar, their seminar contributions and involvement in the seminars), and develop their skills in chairing a seminar, presenting material and being involved in discussion (including thinking on their feet about the topic being discussed, how to engage interest in the topic and stimulate debate).

The aim of this module is to develop knowledge of the evidence for Neanderthal and modern human occupation of Europe and to develop a critical perspective on interpretations of Neanderthal and modern human behaviour and the transition to modern humans.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate that they are familiar with the literature on the archaeology of Neanderthals
  • exhibit a firm understanding of the theoretical, methodological and ethical issues related to the archaeological study of Neanderthals
  • show familiarity with a range of case studies from different parts of the world
  • demonstrate in depth knowledge of a topic of their choosing
  • pick out the key issues in their chosen topic
  • prepare a worksheet which sets out key reading and issues for presentation, debate and discussion, and support the group in the preparation of the seminar
  • chair a seminar, engage interest in the topic, stimulate debate and structure discussion
  • have a critical awareness of the process of collective debate on a specific topic
  • be able to judge the general success of the seminar, and to be able to reflect on this, through a written summary of a seminar
  • present PowerPoint presentations on other subjects within the general theme and contribute informed ideas and information to the other seminars

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Critique
N/A 20
Essay/coursework
Seminar Worksheet
N/A 27
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 1
N/A 26.5
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 2
N/A 26.5

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Critique
N/A 20
Essay/coursework
Seminar Worksheet
N/A 27
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 1
N/A 26.5
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 2
N/A 26.5

Module feedback

Arrangements for the return of feedback are detailed on the formative and summative assessment web pages.

Indicative reading

Reading is accessible via the module web pages and VLE.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

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