You might have seen a new type of ancient human on the news recently, nicknamed, affectionately, ‘the hobbit’ (not because they were taking the ring to Mordor, but because of their rather diminutive stature).
If you didn’t, here’s the news in brief: a team of scientists went digging for the first Australians and instead found a completely new (and tiny) ancient human. Since then they’ve been trying to work out what happened to these small ancestors of ours.
To share their findings, some of the scientists involved in understanding ‘the hobbit’ have put together a 4 week free online course to explain how the discovery unfolded…
The course has been created with FutureLearn and will take you inside the world of this new species, giving you a run through modern scientific archaeological techniques along the way.
Here’s what’s on the syllabus:
Week 1 - Human Origins and Introduction to Archaeology
Learn about where you, me and everyone came from - before getting onto the moment ‘the hobbit’ was discovered.
Week 2 - Archaeological Methods: In the Cave
You think a festival is bad? Get to grips with how science translates in somewhere without electricity or water.
Week 3 - Archaeological Science: In the Lab
Understand what happens once all the archaeological finds are delicately hauled back to the lab.
Week 4 - Future Directions
‘The Hobbit’, despite it’s size, is having a big impact in the world of archaeology - find out exactly what this little ancient human might mean for the story of our origins.
Intrigued? Join the course today - it started this week, and you're not too late to join.
Jess Weeks is a copywriter at FutureLearn. She has never conducted ground-breaking science in a cave, or discovered a new species, but there’s still time.