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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Lifelong Learning (HCA)

Undergraduate Course: Caves: A Natural and Cultural History (LLLE07031)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis interdisciplinary course brings together insights from the earth sciences, ecology, archaeology, ethnography and cultural studies to look at the formation, evolution, ecological significance and human uses of caves.
The course discusses caves as,
-landforms, evolving over long periods of time and containing records of past landscapes and climates;
-habitats of cave-dwelling organisms with fascinating evolutionary histories;
-places, used by humans and, in earlier times, other hominis, and thus preserving unique records of the biological evolution, ecologies and cultures of our (and related) species.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
Understand processes of cave formation, clastic sediment and speleothem deposition, and geomorpohic change in caves.
Appreciate the significance of caves and their sediments as proxies for past climates, landscapes and habitats, and outline the main approaches to their analysis and dating.
Appreciate the ecological significance of caves as unique and fragile habitats;
Understand the significance of caves as inhabited places and cultural resources, and describe aspects of the long interaction of humans and other hominins with cave environments.
Reading List
De Waele, J., Plan, L., and Audra, P. (eds.) (2009) Recent Developments in Surface and Subsurface Karst Geomorphology. Geomorphology 106.
Gillieson, David (1996) Caves: Processes, Development and Management, Oxford, Blackwell.
Onac B.P. and Forti P. (2011) Minerogenetic mechanisms occurring in the cave environment: an overview. International Journal of Speleology 40: 79-98.
White, W.B. (2007) Cave sediments and palaeoclimate. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies 69: 7693.

Bonsal, Clive, and Tolan-Smith, Christopher, eds. (1997) The Human Use of Caves, Oxford, Archaeopress.
Chapman, Philip (1993) Caves and Cave Life, London, Colins.
Goudie, Andrew. (ed.) (2010). Encyclopedia of Caves and Karst Science. Oxford, Blackwell.

British Cave Research Association portal, with many links and access to journals:
Portal of the UIS Commission on Karst Hydrology and Speleogenesis, with many links and access to an extensive list of journals:
International Journal of Speleology:

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Martine Pierquin
Tel: (0131 6)51 1182
Course secretaryMrs Sabine Murdoch
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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