Undergraduate

modules

Modules

ARA3022 : Themes in European Prehistory (Cosmology, Bodies, Persons and Art)

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

How do archaeologists make sense of the social and cultural aspects of the prehistoric past? What did prehistoric communities believe about the world in which they lived, and how did they understand their bodies, their lives and deaths, their place in the world?

In this course we will consider four key themes in social life where archaeologists have benefited from studying social and cultural anthropology. We will use case studies from European prehistory as examples (mainly from the later Mesolithic to the end of the Bronze Age), and investigate how prehistorians can interpret cosmology, bodies, personhood and art. The course will contextualize studies of prehistoric European societies within a broader anthropological context.

As the course develops we will consider how studies of one theme can assist in the development of our understanding of the other three themes in particular and other facets of past societies more generally.

This module aims to provide an awareness of several key themes in the practices and experiences of people living in ‘non-Western’ societies.
It also aims to enable you to develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of selected aspects of Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age or Iron Age society in Britain and Europe (henceforth referred to simply as ‘Europe’).
In particular, it aims to provide you with the basis to acquire a detailed knowledge of the role of cosmology, bodies, personhood and works of art in specific archaeological contexts.
On a practical level it aims to encourage the development of your advanced skills in oral and written communication.

Outline Of Syllabus

Each session will be run as a lecture/seminar for which students will prepare in advance: briefs to
these readings will be given in week 1, asking questions students should consider in their reading.
A variant on the following syllabus will be offered each year:
Week Number Session Number (length) Content
1. 1. (2 hours) Introduction: studying cosmology, art, bodies and persons in prehistoric context
1. 1a. (1 hour) Introduction to seminars, presentations and assignments
2. 2. (1 hour) Interpreting art in present and past contexts
2. 3. (1 hour) Art in Late Upper Palaeolithic France
3. 4. (1 hour) Interpreting cosmology in present contexts
3. 5. (1 hour) Cosmology and Neolithic houses in northern Europe
3. 6. (1 hour) Cosmology and Neolithic monuments in northern Europe
4. 7. (1 hour) Art and cosmology in later Neolithic northern Europe: Passage Graves
4. 8. (1 hour) Art and cosmology in Neolithic and early Bronze Age Britain: rock art in the landscape
5. 9. (2 hours) Student presentations on art and cosmology in Late Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic
and Neolithic Europe
5. 10 (8 hours) Fieldtrip: Investigating cosmology, rock art and monuments in prehistoric Northumberland
6. 11. (1 hour) Bodies and persons in contemporary contexts
6. 12. (1 hour) Death, the body and the person in contemporary contexts
6. 13. (1 hour) Bodies and persons in Neolithic northern Europe
7. 14. (1 hour) Bodies, persons and objects in contemporary contexts
7. 15. (1 hour) Bodies, persons and objects in Bronze Age Britain
8. 16. (1 hour) Bodies and persons in Neolithic and Copper Age SE Europe
8. 17. (1 hour) Animals and persons in contemporary contexts
8. 18. (1 hour) Bodies, persons and cosmology in later Mesolithic SE Europe and southern
Scandinavia
9. 19. (2 hours) Bodies, persons, art and cosmology: Bronze Age southern Scandinavia
10. 20. (2 hours) Bodies, persons, art and cosmology: Iron Age northern Europe
11. 21. (2 hours) Student presentations: Bodies, persons and cosmology in Mesolithic, Neolithic,
Bronze Age and Iron Age Europe
12. 22. (1 hour) Summary, review and conclusions; student feedback.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion531:0053:001/3 of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading531:0053:001/3 of guided independent studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching171:0017:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study521:0052:001/3 of guided independent studies
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

*Each session will be run as a lecture/seminar for which students will prepare in advance: briefs to these readings will be given in week 1, asking questions students should consider in their reading.

Students are taught in lecture/seminars which introduce key topics through lectures to impact key knowledge, then switch to group discussion based on reading the students will prepare beforehand to encourage independent learning, oral communication skills and group work. Some sessions will include group exercises to promote teamwork.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M40Written Assignment A (1,500-2000 words)
Essay1M60Written Assignment B (2,500 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1M15-20-minute presentation in preparation for either assignment A or B
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes and develops key skills in research, reading and writing. Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress.

All students will also give a 15-20-minute presentation in preparation for either assignment A or B. Students will be broken into two equal groups: Group 1 will present in Week 5 and their long assignment is due in Week 7. Group 2 will present in Week 10 and their long assignment is due in Week 12. For Group 1 their short assignment is due in Week 7 and for Group 2 their short assignment is due in Week 12.


All students are broken into two assessment groups to set up an assessment and presentation pattern which encourages oral presentation skills and reflection on preparation for assignments prior to submission of assessed work, and also encourages communication between students about the course material beyond that covered in lectures. This allows students to practice oral communication skills while being assessed through written work.

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


This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Reading Lists

Timetable