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Online course

Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’

Discover the incredible world of 'the Hobbit' as modern archaeological science uncovers secrets hidden in time.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’

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Why join the course?

In a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, a team of archaeologists were surprised to find the skeletal remains of a mysterious new species. This free online course follows the incredible discovery of Homo floresiensis - or ‘the Hobbit’ as it has come to be known. Join us on a quest of discovery and adventure as the mystery is unravelled piece by piece using a variety of scientific techniques and archaeological approaches.

Welcome to the fascinating world of modern archaeological science and Homo floresiensis

In this course you will follow a dedicated team of scientists as they continue to uncover clues that shine a light on the world in which ‘the Hobbit’ lived and our own origins as a species. You will learn about the nature and implications of the mystery of ‘the Hobbit’ through investigating a range of significant questions including:

  • Who is 'the Hobbit'?
  • When did she live?
  • What happened to her species?

Learn how modern scientific techniques are used to unravel the secrets of Homo floresiensis

This course introduces you to a team of archaeologists and scientists with diverse areas of expertise. Go behind the scenes and join them on a journey from the cave to the lab as they unearth artefacts and learn about processes and methods used to read evidence buried in the past. These interactive investigations will help you understand the multidisciplinary approach to modern archaeology, incorporating scientific techniques and approaches. Learn what evidence can be found, what stories artefacts tell, what dating methods can be used and how the secrets hidden in time are revealed through science.

What does Homo floresiensis tell us about our own origins?

Uncovering Homo floresiensis has had significant implications for the world of archaeology and beyond. This course explores the local and international significance of Homo floresiensis and provides insights into the controversy and heated debates surrounding the discovery and biological status of ‘the Hobbit’. By beginning to unravel the mystery prepare to challenge assumptions about human evolution and develop an understanding of how ‘the Hobbit’ fits into the broader story of our origins as a species.

Keep up-to-date with the latest findings about evolution and Homo floresiensis

The Centre for Archaeological Science (CAS) at the University of Wollongong was established to develop, integrate and apply modern scientific techniques to answer fundamental questions about human evolution and the analysis of material remains of past human life and activities. Boasting world-class facilities and researchers who have played a crucial role in uncovering the latest findings about ‘the Hobbit’, CAS shares expertise throughout this course that will take you to the forefront of modern archaeological science methods and research.

Prepare to embark on an adventure filled with mystery, questions and secrets all waiting to be unearthed throughout this quest…
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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsIn a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, a team of archaeologists were searching for evidence of the first Australians when they stumbled upon a surprising discovery, the skeletal remains of a mysterious new species, Homo floresiensis-- or the Hobbit, as it has come to be known.

Skip to 0 minutes and 33 secondsWho is the Hobbit? When did she live? What happened to her species? And what does this amazing discovery tell us about our own origins? This free online course follows the incredible story of the Hobbit. The mystery is revealed, piece by piece, using a variety of scientific techniques and archaeological disciplines. Follow a dedicated team of scientists as they continue to uncover clues at Liang Bua, shining a light on the world in which the Hobbit lived. Learn what evidence can be found, what stories artefacts tell, what dating methods can be used, and how the secrets hidden in time are revealed through science.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 secondsJoin us on a quest of discovery and adventure, unravelling the mystery of the Hobbit.

What topics will you cover?

  • The discovery of Homo floresiensis and its international significance (including local and international perceptions)
  • Controversies surrounding the discovery of Homo floresiensis and the heated debate over its biological status
  • The multifaceted evolutionary history of human origins
  • The significance and multidisciplinary nature of modern archaeological science and its approaches for excavating and examining evidence
  • The basis and application of scientific techniques used to investigate the behaviour of the hobbit, its period of existence and the environment in which it lived.
  • Evidence gathered through examination of the stratigraphy of archaeological sites, faunal remains and stone tool artefacts
  • The role and application of a range of dating methods used to shed light on the chronology of the life and times of Homo floresiensis
  • The impact of archaeochemistry techniques for extracting evidence from artefacts
  • Characteristics of hobbit skeletal remains and how these compare to modern humans
  • Evolutionary implications of the discovery of Homo floresiensis
  • Current projects and research opportunities addressing unanswered questions about Homo floresiensis and human evolution

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain the significance of the discovery of Homo floresiensis to the world of archaeology and human evolution
  • Debate the evolutionary implications of the discovery of Homo floresiensis and discuss the ensuing controversy and speculations
  • Compare and evaluate the application and impact of various multidisciplinary archaeological approaches for excavating and examining evidence from Liang Bua
  • Identify, describe and compare layers within the stratigraphy of Liang Bua, and characteristics of artefacts and skeletal remains (hobbit and faunal)
  • Interpret evidence from sediments, stone artefacts and faunal remains from Liang Bua
  • Explain the role and application of a range of dating methods used to shed light on the chronology of the life and times of Homo floresiensis
  • Collect and report on topical research regarding Homo floresiensis
  • Reflect on how the Hobbit fits into the broader story of human evolution and the need for further research and expertise to address unanswered questions

Who is the course for?

There are no special requirements for studying this course but it might be of special interest to those considering retraining or further study in this area - whether it’s postgraduate study or study after leaving school.

Who will you learn with?

Zenobia Jacobs

I am an archaeologist and geochronologist that is interested in understanding the timing of significant turning points in the evolution of humans and the role the environment may have played.

Richard Roberts

I was trained in the Earth sciences and my research interests include geochronology, archaeological science, human evolution and the interactions between hunter-gatherers and their environments.

Who developed the course?

The University of Wollongong is among the world’s top 20 modern universities. It routinely rates among the top Australian universities for graduate satisfaction and starting salaries.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $59 (+ shipping) you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

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  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.

Upgrade


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