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Mesolithic Lifeways - ARC00030M

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Steph Piper
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

This module aims to provide a fresh and exciting approach to Mesolithic studies, in that it will investigate how people may have lived their everyday lives from a range of different perspectives. This is in contrast to some other approaches which focus only on the environment or lithics and forget about the people! The module draws upon some of the most up to date research including recent excavations at Star Carr.

Students have said that this module is intellectually stimulating and the teaching style very strongly encouraged them to develop their own thoughts and that the format of the module was perfect.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

  • To critically examine the ways in which Mesolithic lifeways are interpreted

  • To develop research, analytical and presentational skills

Module 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

Module content

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.

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be available within 6 weeks

Indicative reading

Milner, N., Conneller, C. and Taylor, B. (ed.) Star Carr, Volume 1: a persistent place in a changing world. White Rose University Press: York. 2018.

Milner, N., Conneller, C. and Taylor, B.  (ed.) Star Carr, Volume 2: studies in technology, subsistence and environment. White Rose University Press: York. 2018.

Milner, N. and Woodman, P.C. (2005) Mesolithic Studies at the Beginning of the 21st Century. Oxford: Oxbow Books

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University constantly explores 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. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.