Credit points: 15

Subject outline

Our ancestors first appeared on the African landscape between 7 and 6 million years ago, but it was not until two and a half million years ago that they began to litter the landscape with durable material remains. These early innovators unwittingly provided their descendants with a unique, if enigmatic, record of their activities. Although this record comprises little more than chipped stone tools and broken-up animal bones, it yields a wealth of information about the behavioural innovations that are integral to the story of human evolution. This subject explores how Palaeolithic archaeologists decode the behavioural and evolutionary significance of these remains and study the technological, economic, social and artistic innovations that are the hallmarks of our evolutionary story. The subject addresses La Trobe's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Essential. Students will engage with these themes by studying key innovations in human behavioural evolution, from the advent of the world's earliest technology to the key turning points in diet and foraging strategies, social organisation, and creative achievements. .

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorNicola Stern

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning Activities Lectures. Tutorial activities; Online questions and quizzes; Essay; Workshop discussions

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Students must have completed at least 60 credit points or obtain the subject coordinators permission


Incompatible subjectsARC2PAL

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsThis subject is the 2nd year core in the BA Major in Ancient Societies and Human Origins

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A


The Human Career

Resource TypePrescribed

Resource RequirementN/A

AuthorKlein, R.G.


Edition/Volume3RD EDN



Chapter/article titleN/A



Other descriptionN/A

Source locationN/A

Principles of Human Evolution.

Resource TypeRecommended

Resource RequirementN/A

AuthorLewin, R. and R. Foley


Edition/Volume2ND EDITION



Chapter/article titleN/A



Other descriptionN/A

Source locationN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Understand how archaeological theories and methods have challenged established beliefs in order to write the story of human evolution
02. Use appropriate archaeological evidence to evaluate alternative accounts of human evolution, recognising that such understanding is always being revised in response to new evidence, analytical techniques and interpretive theories.
03. Identify how new scientific methods challenge deep-seated beliefs that influence understanding of key events in human evolution
04. Demonstrate knowledge of cultural values, awareness and sensitivities surrounding discussions of human evolution
05. Recognise the import of all humanity sharing a deep-time history

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne (Bundoora), 2021, Semester 1, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorNicola Stern

Class requirements

LectureWeek: 10 - 22
One 1.00 h lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.

WorkShopWeek: 10 - 22
One 2.00 h workshop per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

Ten short assignments (2,000-words equivalent) involving collaborative discussion, management and critique of new ideas

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo50 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3, SILO5

One 2,000-word research essay In this essay students are asked to challenge existing understandings of the past, and to draw on new data and/or novel theoretical and methodological perspectives to generate new interpretations of the human past.

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo50 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3, SILO4, SILO5