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Unit information: Early Human Origins in 2021/22

Unit name Early Human Origins
Unit code ARCHM1000
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Brimacombe
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The course covers the breadth of human evolutionary development from the emergence of the Hominidae to the cladogenesis of Homo sapiens sensu stricto. The course aims to provide students with a comprehensive background in human evolutionary anatomy, the hominid taxonomic and phylogenetic framework, and Palaeolithic archaeology, all placed in environmental and geochronological context. Equal emphasis in teaching is given to both evolutionary skeletal morphology and the reconstruction of archaeological behaviours.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Specific learning objectives of the unit: At the end of this unit you should be able to: Define the term ‘Primate’, describe the structure of primate phylogeny, and explain how humans fit into this phylogenetic framework. Explain the role of studies of modern primate social structures and anatomy in the interpretation of human evolution. Discuss the major categories of palaeoanthropological investigative procedure. Summarise the key stages in the pattern of human evolution, both in terms of anatomical changes and cultural/behavioural changes, as they are currently understood. Summarise the geographical location of major sites and finds, and name them. Describe the main developments in the history of the science of human evolution, and be able to assess the contribution of key scientists.

Teaching Information

Weekly lectures and seminars, supported by self-directed activities

Assessment Information

100% open book exam


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

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How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.