An Introduction to World Archaeology BC

Module code: AR1004

Module co-ordinator: Dr Oliver Harris

  • When were the earliest stone tools made?
  • Why did people invent metalwork?
  • Why did prehistoric people build monuments?
  • What was it like to live in the distant past?

Tracing our history from the first use of stone tools at least 2.3 million years ago up to the Roman conquest of Britain, this module will introduce you to the extraordinary range of evidence we have to draw on as archaeologists. This will involve looking at everything from our earliest ancestors in Africa, via the Neanderthals to the lost civilisations of India and the Near East and the mysteries of Stonehenge. We will look at how people lived, how they got food, how they treated their dead and how they organised their societies. By examining the complex worlds of the prehistoric past we can open up new understandings of who we are in the present and the importance of looking at all societies in their historical, material and social context.

This module includes a field trip to the internationally important Bronze Age site of Flag Fen, and also includes a guest lecture by Francis Pryor, former member of Time Team and excavator of the site. This module leads directly into Introduction to World Archaeology AD.

Topics covered

  • Evolution of our species
  • Origins of material things
  • Fate of the Neanderthals
  • Spread of humanity across the globe
  • Origins of agriculture
  • Stonehenge landscape
  • Origins of states
  • Rise of Ancient Greece

Learning

  • 20 one-hour lectures
  • 7 one-hour seminars
  • One day field trip

Assessment

  • essay, 2,000 words (50%)
  • exam, two hours (50%)