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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: People, landscape change and settlement: the last 15,000 years (GEGR10107)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is intended to provide an integrated palaeoecological approach to the origin and evolution of temperate and arctic environments during the Lateglacial and Holocene, with particular reference to the interplay between human and natural landscapes. The intention of the course is to ensure that all participants are familiar with the general principles of reconstruction of past environments and the broad outlines and limitations of the wide range of techniques available, in particular the evidence gained from studies of invertebrate faunas. The objective is to understand how the data used to reconstruct the dynamic Lateglacial and Holocene environment are acquired.

Replaces: Reconstructing Late Quaternary Environments (GEGR10090)
Course description Syllabus
Course introduction

Late Quaternary extinctions: Climate change or humans or a combination of both?

The biogeography of disease - a. Infectious diseases b. Virgin soil edipemics

Palaeoecological reconstructions: Palaeoentomology, climate and environmental change

Holocene environments in the Nile valley and desert

Late Holocene connections in the Aegean

Environmental change in Northern France and the British Isles/man or climate -Molluscs and palaeocology

North Atlantic Biota - European expansion in the North Atlantic and Northern Scandinavia

The end of Norse Greenland

From the Land of Fire to the Falkland Islands - Understanding change in the most southern tip of the world

Using studies of past environments to conserve the future: The Vera hypothesis and the use of analogues for conservation - Conservation of woodlands and wetlands

Course overview- Revision for exams

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 2,000 word project (40%) and one two-hour examination (2 questions) (60%).

Overall mark for the course (ie coursework and examinations) of at least 40 required to pass the course.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. have a comprehensive and integrated knowledge and understanding of the broad pattern of environmental change (both natural and anthropogenic in origin) over the last 15,000 years
  2. gain an understanding some of the sources of palaeoenvironmental data, and the various palaeoecological techniques, including vertebrate and invertebrate data, which can be applied to the investigation of environmental change and human activity in the landscape.
  3. gain an understanding of the ways in which the palaeoenvironmental record is created and changed by the processes of fossilisations (taphonomy).
  4. gain an understanding of the interaction of human communities with different facets of the environment and the role of human as agents of landscape change and development.
  5. gain knowledge of the biogeography of disease. An understanding of conservation issues.
Reading List
Bell, M. and Walker, M.J.C. (2004). Late Quaternary Environments. Physical & Human Perspectives (2nd ed.). Pearson Prentice Hall, Harlow.
Butzer K. W. (2005). Environmental history in the Mediterranean world: cross-disciplinary investigation of cause-and-effect for degradation and soil erosion. Journal of Archaeological Science 32: 1773-1800.
Fitzhugh W. W. and Ward E. I. (2000). Vikings. The North Atlantic Saga. Smithsonian Institute, Washington.
Greenblatt C. and Spigelman M. (Eds) (2003). Emerging pathogens. Archaeology, ecology & evolution of infectious disease. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Hodder K. H., Bullock J. M., Buckland P. C. and Kirby K. J. (2005). Large herbivores in the wildwood and modern naturalistic grazing systems. English Nature Research Report, 648. English Nature, Peterborough.
Lowe J. J. and Walker M.J.C. (1997). Reconstructing Quaternary Environments (2nd ed). Longman, London.
Roberts N. (2014). The Holocene. An Environmental History (3rdedition). Wiley Blackwell, Oxford.

Particularly useful Journals: Antiquity, Archaeometry, The Holocene, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Biogeography, Journal of Quaternary Science, Meddelelser om Grønland, Quaternary Research, Quaternary Science Reviews.

Keywords: palaeocology, Lateglacial, Holocene, climate change, extinctions, biogeography, disease, human impact, conservation
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills basic observation skills in the laboratory
basic knowledge of how to use a database to collate data and interpret an invertebrate assemblage (using BUGSCEP)
skills of writing a project/essay of their choice (from a list of essays provided in the course)
KeywordsLateglacial,Holocene,climate change,extinctions,biogeography,disease,human impact,conservati
Course organiserDr Eva Panagiotakopulu
Tel: (0131 6)50 2531
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Mcallister
Tel: (0131 6)50 4917
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