Module Catalogue 2022/23

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

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Eric Tourigny
  • Lecturer: 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 the Caribbean, North America, 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 20th 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

Topics to include:

The Caribbean
North America
The slave trade and West and Southern Africa
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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion601:0060:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion71:007:00Formative assessment preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:001hr per week
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading601:0060:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities181:0018:00Additional guided reading from module handbook
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:001 hr per week
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities112:0022:002hrs prep task per seminar
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 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 Examination902A50Online exam 24hr take home
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M50Problem solving exercise (New Frisia) 2000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises2MPractice problem solving exercise, New Frisia (700 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Data handling exercise (Formative Assessment 1;Problem solving exercise 1) fosters independent research and problem solving skills, and the exam (Written Examination 1) 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.


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.