Module Catalogue 2014/15

ARA1028 : Prehistoric Britain

  • Offered for Year: 2014/15
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chris Fowler
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

N/A

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

N/A

Aims

This course is designed to introduce you to the material, sites and communities that characterize the prehistoric archaeology of the British Isles. We will study these remains period by period, from the earliest human occupation in the British Isles to the Roman invasion.

This module aims:
•to provide a general grounding in the prehistoric archaeology of the British Isles;
•to emphasise the role of landscapes, archaeological sites and monuments, and material culture in how archaeologists interpret life in prehistoric Britain.

Outline Of Syllabus

Outline syllabus, intended as a guide only; week-by-week topics may be slightly different to the following

1. Introduction Introduction to British prehistory.
Outline of module structure, seminars (including presentation advice), assessment, blackboard. Dr Chris Fowler

2. Palaeolithic Britain Palaeolithic Britain, Boxgrove Dr Rob Young

3. Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Britain Upper Palaeolithic and Earlier Mesolithic Britain Dr Rob Young

4. Earlier Mesolithic Case study: Changing interpretations of Star Carr Dr Rob Young

5. Later Mesolithic Later Mesolithic Britain Dr Chris Fowler


Seminar 1 GNM Neolithic artefacts Dr Chris Fowler, Rachel Crellin

6. The Mesolithic/Neolithic transition What do we mean by the Neolithic? Where did Neolithic products and practices comes from? The earliest Neolithic in Britain Dr Chris Fowler

Fieldtrip Off campus Visiting henge monuments and stone circles in Cumbria Dr Chris Fowler

7. Early Neolithic Earlier Neolithic Britain Dr Chris Fowler

Seminar 2 Debating the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition Dr Chris Fowler

8. Middle Neolithic Earlier to Middle Neolithic Dr Chris Fowler

9. Early and Middle Neolithic Case study: The Avebury region - Windmill Hill and West Kennet Dr Chris Fowler

10. Later Neolithic Later Neolithic Britain Dr Chris Fowler

Seminar 3 Writing essays on British prehistory: what makes a good essay? How to cite radiocarbon dates, and other conventions Dr Chris Fowler

11. Later Neolithic Case Study: Orkney - Barnhouse, Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar, Maes Howe Dr Chris Fowler

12. Chalcolithic/Beaker period/Early Bronze Age The British ‘Chalcolithic’ and the start of the Early Bronze Age: Beakers, burials and copper Dr Chris Fowler

13. Neolithic and early Bronze Age art Portable objects, passage grave art, open-air rock art and its reuse in early Bronze Age monuments Dr Jan Harding

14. Early Bronze Age Early Bronze Age Britain: burials and barrows, cists and cairns; stone circles and henges revisited Dr Chris Fowler

15. Excavating Neolithic/early Bronze Age sites Examples: chambered cairns and early Bronze Age cremation deposits at Cairnderry and Bargrennan Dr Chris Fowler

Seminar 4: Locating, excavating and interpreting prehistoric sites. How to evaluate the evidence from prehistoric archaeological sites Dr Jan Harding

16. Everyday life in the Middle and Later Bronze Age Middle and Later Bronze Age Britain: Re-evaluating the ‘disappearance’ of monuments; changing settlement and landuse patterns, changing ways of treating the dead Dr Chris Fowler

Seminar 5 GNM Bronze Age artefacts Dr Chris Fowler, Rachel Crellin

17. Ritual and religion in the Bronze Age Including Flag Fen, deposition of metalwork and ritual at settlements Dr Chris Fowler

18. Iron Age Early Iron Age Britain Dr Jane Webster

Seminar 6 Great North Museum Iron Age artefacts Dr Jane Webster

19. Iron Age Case study - Archaeology and ethnicity: was the Iron Age 'Celtic'? Dr Jane Webster

20. Iron Age Later Iron Age Britain: Hillforts, oppida and settlement Dr Jane Webster

Seminar 7 Iron Age bog bodies Dr Jane Webster

21. Iron Age Later Iron Age Britain: Contact with the Roman world Dr Jane Webster

22. Overview: Cosmology Interpreting cosmology from houses, monuments, burial practices and acts of deposition Dr Chris Fowler

23. Overview: Social organization Interpreting social relations, power relations, and identity Dr Jan Harding

CHRISTMAS BREAK

24. Revision Revision, questions, etc Dr Chris Fowler

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1.       an outline of the past of Britain from prehistoric hunter-gatherers to the arrival of the Roman Empire;
2.       awareness of forms of artefacts, sites and landscapes characteristic of different periods of British prehistory
3.       awareness of the range of evidence available to, and produced by, archaeological enquiries into the prehistoric past within the British Isles.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1.       the ability to relate material evidence to the interpretation of social and cultural phenomena;
2.       the ability to recognise a wide range of monuments and artefacts in the field or in museums;
3.       the ability to identify and utilise specialised archaeological publications including academic papers, fieldwork and excavation reports, and artifact catalogues;
4.       the ability to recognise how specific evidence is used to produce general interpretations.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Present
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Leadership : Present
      • Negotiation : Present
      • Peer Assessment Review : Present
  • Application
    • Occupational Awareness : Present
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion721:0072:0045% of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading721:0072:0045% of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00Field trip
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study161:0016:0010% of guided independent studies
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

At some seminars the students prepare a short description of key articles, and present these précis to the class as a whole, developing their analysis of texts and their groupwork and communication skills. This is not assessed summatively, but prepares them for writing their essay or an exam question, and provides an opportunity to practice these skills which are assessed in a number of modules later in the degree structure. Other seminars will involve other non-assessed activities and discussions. Key information is imparted en masse during lectures. The reading list clearly identifies key sources for private study, and will be supported by use of web-based resources co-ordinated through a Blackboard site.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A60Seen exam – essay questions provided two weeks in advance.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M402000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MGroups of around 4 students must prepare a 10-15 minute précis of a key text on the seminar topic.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exam information: Seen exam – essay questions provided two weeks in advance.
Unseen exam – short answers/ multiple choice questions only to be seen on the day of the exam.


The first section of the module (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) is assessed by a single essay. The exam will require the student to answer one essay question on the Bronze or Iron Age, and one other essay question which may cover any period of British prehistory, and in some cases ask them to discuss a theme across periods. Finally, there will be unseen short answer or multiple choice questions to measure expected knowledge outcomes across the breadth of the course. These will be taken together with the essay question part of the exam.

It is proposed to provide the exam essay questions two weeks in advance of the exam. It is anticipated that providing the exam questions in advance will promote thorough preparation and reading around the subjects chosen, reflecting the normal process of scholarship. The unseen short questions will ensure that breadth of knowledge in the key knowledge outcomes is assessed.

As part of this module students are required to participate in group work: seminar groups of around 4 students must prepare a 5 minute précis of a key text on the seminar topic. This is designed to give them a taste of giving a presentation, since a number of stage 2 and 3 modules include assessed presentations. Group presentations will be linked directly to some of the essay or exam questions provided in the aim that this will encourage students to read these texts and discuss them in seminars before writing their essays or preparing for the exam.

The above arrangements provide for a structured progression through the module content and a close connection between the material covered, the learning outcomes, and the assessment.

ERASMUS students at Newcastle have the option of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of domestic students. If they wish to take up this option, they need to discuss it with the module leader. It remains the case that, if an ERASMUS student wishes to do the same assessment as the domestic students, that option remains open to them. No variation of the deadlines will be allowed except on production of medical or equivalent evidence.

Study Abroad students (i.e. non-EU exchange students) are required to complete the normal assessment under all circumstances.

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

N/A

Note: The Module Catalogue now reflects module information relating to academic year 14/15. Please contact your School Office if you require module information for a previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.