The Antiquity of Man

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Course: North Africa

Course Co-ordinator: Michael Brass

To register: contact Mike at to pay by cheque or via PayPal.

Cost: 30 / $40 (US) / 40 Euros

Length: 10 weeks, beginning Sunday 09 October - Saturday 17th December 2016.

Description: The course consists of five modules. Each module will last two weeks - the first week consists of the readings; the second week is devoted to online e-mail discussions involving the various matters raised by the course material.

Previous Knowledge or Experience Required: No subject knowledge required.

Who is the course intended for: Anyone with an interest in the prehistory of North Africa


1. Background to archaeological research
History of Saharan archaeology and the research models utilised
An overview of the Late Pleistocene

2. An overview of the Early Holocene
The archaeology of Early Nabta Playa (Egyptian Western Desert)
A focus on the foragers and hunters of the central Sahara, and their captive/controlled (but not domesticated) animals
The debate over the timing and place of origin of domesticated cattle

3. Examining the rapid Holocene climate changes and their impact on pastoralist settlements
What is pastoral ethnography and how can it be applied archaeologically

4. The spread of domesticated animals across the Sahara
The social, economic and ideological significance of Saharan tumuli (traditionally subsumed within a megalithic description)
The impact of the Sahara on the Predynastic of the Nile Valley

5. The rise of social complexity in pastoral societies
How gender studies are beginning to be applied to Saharan archaeology
The beginnings of agriculture
How the Sahara cannot be viewed archaeologically in relation to sub-Saharan Africa

What materials will I need: The course materials are provided through the website medium.

The course is non-credited. Within each module will be a series of website links for further research, and a select bibliography of books and journal articles.

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