Module Catalogue 2016/17

ARA2097 : Historical Archaeology of the Modern World (post 1492) (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jane Webster
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module explores the physical and social landscapes created in the ‘New World’ (and at ‘home’ in Europe too), as European colonisers interacted with indigenous peoples. We focus on four case study areas (the Caribbean, the USA, Western and Southern Africa, and Britain), and look mainly at the period from 1492 – c.1900. Topics to be covered include the archaeology of Spanish and British settlement in the Caribbean; the study of colonial elites and indigenous peoples in British North America; the archaeology of slavery and of global consumerism; archaeology and racism in Southern Africa, and colonial heritage presentation issues today.

The aims of this module are:

• To introduce students to the historical archaeology of European overseas exploration and settlement, in selected contexts from 1492 to the 19th century.
• To introduce students to the historical archaeology of Britain after 1492, and to encourage an understanding of the relationship between overseas exploration and developments in the ‘home’ country.
• To examine and engage in debates about the range of interpretative frameworks available for modelling contact and culture change in selected colonial contexts.
• To expand students’ understanding of the relationship between documentary sources and archaeological data that characterises historical archaeology as a discipline.

Outline Of Syllabus

Week 1 - Introduction
Week 2-3 - The Caribbean
Week 4-7 - North America
Week 8-11 - The slave trade and West and Southern Africa
Week 12 - Bringing it home to Britain

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

•       Students will demonstrate an awareness of the globalizing processes (conquest, empire, colonialism, trade and slavery) shaping Britain and its colonies after 1492.

•       Students will demonstrate a detailed awareness of the role of archaeology in expanding our understanding of a variety of historically documented colonial encounters.

•       Students will be familiar with a variety of interpretative frameworks for modelling contact and culture change in colonial contexts, and will show an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of these models.
•       Students will show an appreciation of the legacies of colonialism, and their impact upon archaeological scholarship, and heritage presentation.

Intended Skill Outcomes

In order to complete the module successfully, all students must demonstrate that they have developed the following intellectual skills:

Reading, understanding, critiquing historical and archaeological data
Analysing and evaluating archaeologists’ use of evidence.
Research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained discussion and appropriate presentation of the results.

All students will also develop the following key skills:
Time management
Bibliographic and library skills
Oral discussion and debate
Writing and revising analytic prose

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Assessed
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • 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
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion621:0062:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading621:0062:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study301:0030:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide a broad overview of the historical archaeology of one of four selected case-studies areas. Seminars either examine one aspect of that week’s overview in greater depth, or cover aspects of study skills and coursework preparation. Many seminars involve some group work, and all are designed to tie in to, and support, the set written work. Advance (group) preparatory work is required for most seminars

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M50Problem solving exercise (New Frisia) 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Data handling exercise (Assessment 1) fosters independent research and problem solving skills, and the exam (Assessment
2) tests breadth of understanding of the central concepts, datasets and issues raised in the module.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All exchange students at Newcastle University including Erasmus, study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola are warmly encouraged to do the same assessment as the domestic students unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered 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, students need to discuss it with their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them.

Students who opt for the alternative assessment because they will have to leave Newcastle University before the assessment period (excluding Erasmus students, who are contractually obliged to be at Newcastle until the end of the semester) should hand in their 3000-word essays before they go away. If this is not possible, they should tell the School exchange coordinator that they are going to submit their essays in absentia, then submit their essays through Blackboard and email copies of the essays to the School Office ( Any essay received after the deadline will be considered as a late submission.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2016/17 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.