Prehistoric Archaeology: Thunderstones and the search for our ancient past | Institute of Continuing Education skip to content

Institute of Continuing Education

The search for what it means to be human has a long and fraught history. Where do we come from? The quest for our origins long predates discoveries of our ancestors. As early as the 6th century BC, people have tried to trace their origins. When did we develop the idea of antiquity? And how have people coped with the idea of time. This course is a history of humankind with a twist. How have people coped with the idea of time? What did they make of thunderstones (arrowheads, thought to be magical thunderbolts that fell from the sky)? At various points in this journey, people were curious and uncomfortable. Fascination and excitement with deep time is a relatively new phenomenon. The quest for understanding our origins is full of great scientific discoveries, severe censorship and social upheaval. Join a quest that tells us as much about antiquity as it does about ourselves.

This course is of interest to those who love history and philosopical enquiry. Expect to find out what Nabonidus and the Sun King have in common. Join the debate on who is human. And contribute to an archaeology of the future - how will you shape the debate on humanity?



This course takes place at Madingley Hall, home to the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.Day schools run from 10.00am to 4.45pm and include four teaching sessions of 75 minutes each. The course fee includes tea, coffee and a buffet lunch.

About Madingley Hall

Madingley Hall itself is an impressive manor house dating back to the mid-16th century. The decoration of the Saloon and the formal Stair Hall was carried out 200 years later, and the whole fabric was renovated with great care around 1900. About four miles from the centre of Cambridge, the Hall stands in several acres of beautifully-maintained gardens and overlooks a landscape which has changed relatively little since it was laid out by Capability Brown. It is just four miles from the centre of Cambridge, and only 60 minutes from London, with excellent links to London airports.

Directions to Madingley Hall

Unless otherwise stated, teaching and assessment for ICE courses are in English. Students whose first language is not English should refer to the Competence in the English Language Policy for further guidance.

Printable versions of our brochures are available to download from the Institute Publications page.

Course dates

15 Apr 2018

Course duration

1 day(s)

Course fee



Institute of Continuing Education
University of Cambridge
CB23 8AQ

Qualifications / Credits


Course code