Module Catalogue 2022/23

ARA1028 : Prehistoric Britain

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Chris Fowler
  • Lecturer: Dr Nicky Garland, Professor Chantal Conneller
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



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

The module may cover the following topics

-Introduction to British prehistory
-Palaeolithic Britain
-Mesolithic Britain
-The Mesolithic/Neolithic transition
-Neolithic Britain
-Chalcolithic Britain
-Bronze Age Britain
-Iron Age Britain
-Overview: Social organization
-Overview: Cosmology

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 mortuary evidence 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.
4. awareness of key issues and debates in British Prehistory

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;
3.       the ability to recognise and evaluate different perspectives;
4.       the ability to recognise how specific evidence is used to produce general interpretations.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00PiP lectures, can be synchronous online if needed
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion801:0080:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading221:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Pip seminars - could be moved to synchronous online if needed
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork17:007:00Fieldtrip - PIP; online replacement activity can be offered instead if necessary
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study581:0058:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide a weekly introduction to each period, plus focus on individual sites, artefacts and mortuary evidence. This will be supplemented with some online learning materials. A key theme in British Prehistory will be explored each week through seminar activities, enabling students to understand different perspectives on debates and how archaeologists use evidence to create interpretations.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M501750 words
Essay1A501750 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MEssay plan to be submitted for brief feedback via Canvas. c. 400 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first section of the module (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) is assessed by a single essay. This is supported by a formative assessment involving submission of an essay plan and bibliography, followed by discussion with module leader. The second essay question will cover the Bronze Age or Iron Age.

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.

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

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 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 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.