Power and Difference in the Past

Module code: AR3089

The past was not like the present. In this module we explore the different worlds of Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain. We explore how power worked, the ways in which identity and personhood operated and how communities came together and broke apart. From the first monuments, through the working and reworking of Stonehenge, to the transformations that came with bronze and the remaking of the landscape around 1500 BC, this module will explore the complexities of British prehistory between 4000 and 800 BC.

To understand how the past was different, and how these differences made the past, we need to do more than just think about the houses people lived in, the monuments they made and the things they used. We need to think critically about how we as archaeologists understand the past, how we can interrogate things and materials and give them roles as players in our historical drama. What people in the past did, what they thought, what they felt, how they related to each other, emerged in a world shaped by the way they made things, what they used them for, how they built monuments and how they buried their dead. In this module, we will learn to take these differences seriously, and through them think differently about ourselves and the world around us today as well as in the past.

Topics included

  • Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain and Ireland
  • Monuments and material culture
  • Death and burial
  • Identity
  • Difference and power
  • New materialism
  • Post-humanism

Learning

  • 2 hours of lectures
  • 20 hours of seminars
  • 128 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Presentation (10%)
  • Essay (90%)