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BioAnth Courses: B14 – A Technologically Dependent Lineage

b14B14 – A Technologically Dependent Lineage

This paper explores how and why hominins and humans became a species entirely dependent upon technology, and how the history of stone tools over the last three million years can be used to unravel this story.

Humans are unique in many ways, but one  of these is that we are a technologically-dependent species; while other species are known to use tools, few if any, are really dependent in the sense that they would go extinct if they were removed from their behavioural repertoire. Humans would. This course looks at the role that technology played in in human evolution, from its primate foundations to the dispersals of modern humans across the globe. We will look at the broader issues of how technology impacts on hominin evolution and the evolutionary process, the nature of lithic production and what it tells us about behaviour and cognition, and how and why technology came to be at  the core of hominin behaviour.


It may be taken as an option by:

  • students doing the Biological Anthropology Track in Part IIB of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students doing the Biological Anthropology/Archaeology Joint Track as Part IIB of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students who have completed Part IB MVST, NST, PBS or Part IIA HSPS and are doing a one-year Part II in Biological Anthropology as part of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students doing Part II PBS and NST or Part IIB Archaeology
  • NST Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences students as part of a Major in Human Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour


Paper Coordinator:  Prof Robert Foley

Michaelmas Term: 16 lectures & seminars

Assessment: 2 hour exam