Project: The Materiality of Education and Social Learning within the Evolution of Mankind

The aim with the project is to generate new understanding of the role played by the materiality of education and social learning within the evolution of mankind.

Project Manager: Anders Högberg
Project Members: Anders Högberg (Lnu) and Peter Gärdenfors
Participating Organizations: STIAS Stellenbosch
Funding Organizations: Vetenskapsrådet
Timetable: 2015 - 2018
Subject: Archaeology, Pedagogics and Educational Science


A gradual evolution of information-sharing practices across generations has transformed humans mind and social lives. The purpose is to create new knowledge about when, where and how these practices took place. The ambition is to contribute to an understanding of evolutionary aspects of human education and social learning and how such an understanding effects how we apprehend present day education and learning processes.

The research project is interdisciplinary combining Archaeology, Cognitive Science and Educational Science. Original theoretical studies will be conducted on evolutionary stages of the development of teaching and learning, together with archaeological studies of early modern human artifacts and technologies from a selection of archaeological sites in South Africa along with analysis of archaeological assemblages in Europe where early modern humans and Neanderthals may have coexisted. The research will be conducted by theoretical studies on the evolution of education in combination with archaeological studies on innovations, knowledge transmission and learning processes over time and place. The importance of the research project is that it will have a significant impact on how we understand present day education and learning processes in the light of an understanding of the evolution of teaching and social learning.

Project members:

Anders Högberg
Peter Gärdenfors, Lund University