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    A review of archaeological evidence for the origins and cultural development of the human species from its earliest appearance up to and including the rise of early civilisations.

    This paper explores fundamental questions about human biological origins and the evolution of human culture and society. What, where and how did our species emerge? What happened during the Stone Age; what was the Neolithic Revolution? How and why did complex societies or civilisations develop globally? The paper pursues answers to these questions and many more, drawing on the archaeological record of our human past, beginning with our African origins millions of years ago. We investigate the development of agriculture, the emergence of new technologies and sedentary settlements, and the beginnings of the world's earliest civilisations.

    About this paper

    Paper title Human Origins and Civilisations
    Subject Anthropology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    ANTH 104, ARCH 101
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music
    This paper is available to all students.

    Professor Glenn Summerhayes

    Dr Charles Radclyffe

    Teaching staff

    Co-ordinator: Professor Glenn Summerhayes and Dr Charles Radclyffe

    Contributing Lecturer: Dr Karen Greig

    Teaching Arrangements

    Lectures and tutorials.


    Scarre, C., The Human Past. Fourth edition. London : Thames & Hudson 2018

    Course outline
    The course outline is available at the first lecture and on Blackboard.
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes
    Students completing this paper will have gained a sound knowledge of the fundamental biological, social and technological changes that occurred over the last few million years that resulted in the emergence of modern human populations and societies. They will appreciate the richness and complexity of human history, the principles of scientific inquiry into the human past, and fundamentals of evaluating and presenting alternative theories and ideas.


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 29-35, 37-42
    Friday 13:00-13:50 30-35, 37-42


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 30-35, 37-42
    A2 Monday 12:00-12:50 30-35, 37-42
    A3 Monday 15:00-15:50 30-35, 37-42
    A4 Monday 16:00-16:50 30-35, 37-42
    A5 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 30-35, 37-42
    A6 Wednesday 09:00-09:50 30-35, 37-42
    A7 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 30-35, 37-42
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