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Queen Mary Summer School

Timewalkers: early humans, stone tools and environmental change

Reconstruction of East Farm Barnham 400,000 years ago


This module takes you on a journey through time to discover Britain’s Stone Age past. Using a mixture of classroom-based sessions, hands-on activities, museum visits and field excursions you will learn how archaeologists reconstruct past landscapes and understand the human populations that once inhabited these lost worlds. The module explores the first dispersals of humans across Europe; a remarkable story of survival in unfamiliar landscapes, where the challenges of changing climate, physical barriers and food and resource availability, tested human resilience to its limits. Located at the edge of this ice-age world, Britain uniquely documents these early inhabitants and their social, cultural and technological development.

Download course syllabus: SUM501F Timewalkers_2020 [PDF 162KB]

Course content is subject to change.

Course aims

The aim of the module is to introduce students to the Palaeolithic record, with a particular focus on Britain, and also explore how archaeologists and Quaternary scientists understand early humans and the landscapes in which they lived. The module will enable students to understand the chronological and environmental context for early human presence, the stone artefacts that give clues as to their technological, social and cultural development and also provides an opportunity to explore the subject through field and museum visits.

Teaching and learning

The module will be delivered through classroom-based teaching, practical sessions, museum visits and fieldwork. The lectures will provide important introductory and background information. Practical sessions will be used to provide hand-on experience and will include flint-knapping to explore how Palaeolithic stone tools were made as well as artefact identification and analysis.

Visits to the British Museum and Natural History Museum will demonstrate the important research collections and activity that takes place in these museums.

Field trips will provide the opportunity to see important Quaternary and Palaeolithic sites and on-going field projects and will include a 2 day trip to East Anglia, a day trip to Creswell Crags, a day trip to the Lower Thames and half day walking tours in Central London.

The timetable will also take account of any social and cultural activities provided by the Queen Mary Summer School programme. 


The Queen Mary Summer School costs: £1,700 per session, which includes tution and social programme. 

We offer a 10% discount to:

  • Students and staff from partner institutions
  • Alumni
  • Current Queen Mary students 


The cost of accommodation is £670 per session. For further information, please visit our accommodation page.

Additional costs and course excursions

As this course involves many field trips, we recommend budgeting approximately £100 to cover the costs.
All reading material will be provided online, so it is not necessary to purchase any books.

Please note there is no deposit payment required for the Queen Mary Summer School.

Entry requirements

To join our Summer School, you should have completed a minimum of two semesters’ study at your home institution.

We welcome Summer School students from around the world. We accept a range of qualifications:

  • if your home institution uses the four-point Grade Point Average (GPA) scale, we usually require a 3.0 GPA
  • if your home institution uses the letter scale, you will need to have a B+

We welcome international qualifications and we consider every application individually on its academic merit.

English language requirements 

All of our courses are taught and assessed in English. If English isn’t your first language, you must meet one of the following English Language requirements in order to join the Queen Mary Summer School:

  • If you hold a degree from a majority English speaking country plus Canada you may use this degree to satisfy the English language requirements for entry, provided the degree was completed no more than 5 years before the start date of the course to which you are applying.
  • IELTS, 7 overall or higher
  • TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 100 (L22; S25; R24; W27)
  • China UEE (University Entrance Exam) -  110
  • CET 4 – 550 or CET 6 – 490
  • PTE Academic 68
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English 185 70- grade C (old marking system)
  • Applicants with an alternative qualification should check it is equivalent to the above or contact us at

How to apply

Have a question? Get in touch, one of the team will be happy to help. 


Teaching dates
Summer School 2020
Course hours
150 hours (of which 45 will be contact hours)
10 minute presentation (20%) 2 x 1000 word assignments (80%)

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