Man and Climate


Course Objective

Students are able to assess the best method(s) for any kind of climate
research on both longer and shorter time scales which also implies
knowledge and insight in climate research which is earth and life
sciences based and climate research which is social sciences based
(historical climatology). Students also learn about strategies of
adaptation and resilience of past societies to climatic change in both
marginal and none marginal place. Finally students learn to put into
perspective present and any future climate research through study of
climate research of the past half a century (IPCC-report).

Course Content

How did climate during the Quaternary shape the development of Human
ancestors during this time period? How have people adapted (or failed to
adapt) to marginal and non-marginal environments and to climate change?
How can we distinguish between natural versus anthropogenic climate
change and what are Future perspectives regarding climate change?
These questions lead to looking at climate change on a longer time
scale, focusing on the early hominids. It also implies looking at a
variety of climate research methods ranging from the natural sciences
focusing on the longer time scale to historical climatology focusing at
the shorter time scale. In order to be able to distinguish between the
natural and anthropogenic of climate change, there is also a need to
investigate strategies of adaptation of past communities to climate
change, gaining insight in and understanding of their resilience and
even of their perception of past climate and weather conditions.

The focus of the course is on the following theme questions:
1. How did large and abrupt climate change events interact with the
development of humans and/or hominids from the Pleistocene to the
Holocene? Assess the complex reciprocal relationship between human
societies and climate. Analyse relation of ‘spikes’ in climate records
with archaeological and historical events.

2. How can we distinguish between natural and anthropogenic climate
change? What are future perspectives regarding climate change?
Investigate adaptation strategies of past communities to climate change.
Gain insight in understanding of human’s resilience and perception of
past climate.

3. What is the Anthropocene and when does it start? Explore the
Anthropocene concept: adaptation or resilience of past societies to
climate change? Analyse major transition phases from archaeological and
historical sources in relation to trends of geological proxies.

4. How can we reconstruct climate variations from man’s records
retrieved in archaeology, ancient studies and historical geography?
Apply combined earth and social science methodologies in climate
research. Analyse different spatial and temporal examples in European
and Middle-Eastern landscapes.

Teaching Methods

Seminars and lectures, flip the classroom exercises, reading literature
and preparation of
research case

Method of Assessment

Student presentation of research case, flip the classroom exercises


Differs per instructor and will be made available on Canvas.

General Information

Course Code AM_1057
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. G.M. Ganssen
Examiner dr. G.M. Ganssen
Teaching Staff dr. G.M. Ganssen
dr. S.J. Kluiving

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: