AGE2012F - The First People

24 credits at NQF level 6

Entry Requirements:

Any first-year Science course; or any one of AXL1400F (was SAN1015F,) or AGE1002S or equivalent first-year semesters; or AGE2011S; or any first-year Humanities course from cognate disciplines such as Anthropology, Historical Studies, Sociology; or by permission of the Head of Department.

Course Outline:

All humans living today have a common African origin. The first humans were hunter-gatherers, as were their descendants. Indeed, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers for at least 99% of our evolutionary history, which means that our physical, psychological and social selves have been shaped by this way of life. We learn about the origin and evolution of our hunter-gatherer ancestors from genetic, fossil, archaeological and ethnographic evidence. Studies of Khoesan peoples of southern Africa have contributed significantly to our understanding of such societies. In this course we focus on the hunter-gatherer way of life over the past few hundreds of thousands of years. Specific topics covered include modern human origins, the Middle and Later Stone Age, ethnographic studies of Khoesan, the origins of pastoralism, coastal vs. arid environment adaptations, rock art and symbolic interpretation, genetics and biology, revisionism, and contemporary socio-politics and identity. In the weekly practical sessions, students will conduct hands-on, problem-solving exercises with archaeological materials.