Early Prehistory

Module code: AR1552

  • What were the first human technologies?
  • When did humans start making art?
  • How did people in the deep past care for their dead?
  • What can monuments tell us about the communities who built them?

Prehistory – the study of humans before the widespread use of the written word – is generally broken down into early and later prehistory. Early prehistory covers the development of modern humans by looking at the latest finds and methods in human evolution. This includes the application of DNA analysis and the study of the bones of human ancestors; and a look at how technology and humans emerged together. You will explore the ways in which hunter-gatherer groups lived, bearing in mind that hunting and gathering were the ways in which people obtained food and lived with and through landscapes for many thousands of years – far longer than being settled farmers. This then leads on to the emergence and spread of farming, which is possibly one of the most important developments in prehistory. With the development of agriculture, new ideas about architecture, monuments, and the dead emerged.

Topics covered

  • Human origins and evolution
  • Origins of material things and the first technologies
  • Fate of the Neanderthals
  • The peopling of the globe
  • Origins of agriculture
  • Monuments and ancestors