ARCH41330 Hunter-Gatherers 2: producing knowledge

Academic Year 2023/2024

Building on the overview of key themes in our understanding of hunter-gatherers provided in HG Archaeology 1, this module considers the contemporary contexts in which we produce knowledge about hunter-gatherers and the implications this has for our practice. Students will engage with issues around the development of ‘ethical space’ for indigenous archaeology and decolonising perspectives, as well as the varied national contexts for and public engagement with hunter-gatherer archaeology.
We will explore the role of narratives and other forms of representation in presenting the hunter-gatherer past and consider what it means to practice hunter-gatherer archaeology at a time of global crisis. This module requires considerable self-reflection and a willingness to discuss challenging ideas.

This module includes a residential (two night) fieldtrip to Co. Mayo which will take place Fri 8th - Sun 10th March 2024.

Students are advised that the fieldtrip involves a full day walking tour on the Saturday. This covers c 10km in total and will last c 7 hours. Access to toilets and shelter is provided at lunch time. The terrain is open bog land with gentle slopes. Any students with potential health or access concerns should discuss this with the module coordinator as soon as possible - we have always been able to tailor the programme to individual's needs.

Students will need suitable waterproof walking boots, waterproof leggings and coat as well as warm clothes.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate
- A critical understanding of the social context of hunter-gatherer archaeology today
- An in depth perspective on the relationship between archaeological information and other perspectives on the hunter-gatherer past
- reflection on how we present the hunter-gatherer past through narrative and other media.
- produced a substantial reflection on how these themes change your archaeological practice

Indicative Module Content:

Indigenous Archaeology & Decolonising Archaeology
Should we use the phrase "Prehistory"?
Ethnoarchaeology & Analogy
Oral Traditions and HG archaeology
Genetics and Linguistics
Time depth and time perspectivism
Big Pictures and Local Histories
Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology in a time of crisis

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Module is taught through combination of short lectures and extended seminars, with discussion and task based activities providing students with opportunities to explore complex topics in depth

Final review essay in pre-determined publication format with feedback available on drafts.

Group designed output on communicating the hunter-gatherer past. Format of output to be decided by the group. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Essay: 4000 word reflective essay Week 12 n/a Graded No


Project: Prepare a poster highlighing steroetypes in the presentation of hunter-gatherers Week 7 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

- essay: formative feedback available on draft, and discussion/review in developing topic. Verbal & written feedback on final essay - group project: verbal and written feedback: informal formative feedback available in development of project.

Most of the reading for this module is provided in the individual seminars and lectures. The nature of the course is wide ranging, and there is no single text book (perhaps I need to write one!). The reading below is good for overall context.

Bruchac, M.M. 2014. Decolonization in Archaeological Theory. In C. Smith (ed.) Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, 2069-2077.New York, NY. Springer New York. (
Lavi, N., Rudge, A., & Warren, G. M. (preprint)). Rewild your inner hunter-gatherer: how an idea about our ancestral condition is recruited into popular debate in Britain and Ireland. Preprint, accessible UCD Research Repository. Retrieved from
McNiven I. J. (2016) Theoretical Challenges of Indigenous Archaeology: Setting an Agenda. American Antiquity 81, 27-41. (
Pitcher, B. (2022). Back to the Stone Age: Race and Prehistory in Contemporary Culture. London: McGill-Queen's University Press. (ebook:
Porr, M. and Matthews, J.M. 2020 Interrogating Human Origins: Decolonisation and the deep Human Past. London. Routledge. (ebook:
Warren, G.M. 2021 Is There Such a Thing as Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology? Heritage 4, 794-810. (
Name Role
Dr Jess Beck Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Martin Moucheron Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Tadhg O'Keeffe Lecturer / Co-Lecturer