Module Catalogue 2023/24

HCA1008 : Global Ancient Histories

HCA1008 : Global Ancient Histories

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Joseph Skinner
  • Lecturer: Dr Chiara Blanco, Dr Emma Gooch, Dr Matthew Haysom, Dr Jon Davies, Dr Christina Mobley, Dr David Walsh
  • Teaching Assistant: Mr Guillem Domingo Ribas, Mr Jerome Ruddick
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module aims to look beyond ancient Greece and Rome and investigate a range of global ancient histories, prior to c. 500 CE (though this will be a flexible boundary). This global focus is in concert with the School-wide aim of supplementing traditional focuses with new, inclusive ways of thinking about the world’s historical past. Drawing on wide interests and expertise across the School, this module aims to explore significant historical issues in global antiquity and their recurrent or connected place in a diversity of regions and cultures. Methodologically, this module is committed to investigating evidence from the widest possible range of sources and viewpoints, and to contextualising and interpreting that evidence through exposure to interdisciplinary approaches (including various theoretical models). Overall, this module aims to promote the development of a broader and enhanced perspective on ancient history and to provoke a reassessment of traditional boundaries in our knowledge and understanding of the world’s past.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module’s syllabus will cycle, dependent on available staff’s expertise and with a commitment to creating a coherent programme of learning. Typically, the syllabus will be divided along the lines of important issues, themes, or questions in world history, with treatments of geographically diverse histories included within the ambit of each but also across issues where possible. Emphasis will also be placed on comparison, and on drawing patterns of connection, throughout.

Central issues that may be covered include:
•       religion and beliefs
•       urbanism and cities
•       oral and written cultures
•       empires and royal states
•       inequality and status
•       historiography and conceptions of the past

Regions of the ancient world that may be covered include:
•       Anatolia
•       China
•       Central Asia
•       Egypt
•       Ethiopia
•       India
•       Japan
•       Mesoamerica
•       Mesopotamia
•       North America
•       Persia

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completing the module, it is intended that students should be able:
1. To recall and describe the societies of widely different peoples and regions in global antiquity;
2. To compare and connect a select set of significant historical issues on a worldwide basis;
3. To identify and interpret a plurality of evidence-types and viewpoints arising from diverse backgrounds;
4. To illustrate a developing global and cultural awareness in communicating your views about the diverse worlds encountered in the module.

Intended Skill Outcomes

On completing the module, it is intended that students should be able:
1. To demonstrate a capacity to approach complex histories in antiquity beyond Greece and Rome, integrating evidence, scholarship, theory (to a level-appropriate degree), and independent thinking;
2. To engage sensitivity and balance in responding to and analysing diverse viewpoints;
3. To investigate and evaluate historical topics both collectively (in seminars and on Canvas) and individually (in class preparation and in assessment-related work);
4. To communicate ideas in verbal and written forms, for both assessed and unassessed work;
5. To reflect critically and creatively on new ideas and perspectives;
6. To practise digital capability in a range of manners linked to taught content but also facilitating further independent work.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture231:0023:00PiP lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion651:0065:00For 3 assessment components (2 summative, 1 formative)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading331:0033:003 hrs reading p/w from module reading list
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:008 weeks with seminars, 3 without
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities161:0016:002 hrs prep tasks per seminar
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study531:0053:00General consolidation activities (e.g. reviewing notes, recordings, readings)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00Introduction/conclusion to the module (first/last weeks)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and non-synchronous lecture materials will introduce topics and provide expert orientation and exposition on a broad range of themes and issues, supplemented by the module reading list. In-person lectures will provide opportunities for dialogue, while lecture materials can be reviewed at any time across the week and revisited numerous times afterwards. In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to present recorded materials asynchronously and retain timetabled slots for live discussion of these materials.

Seminars will also consolidate the learning progress from lectures, lecture materials, and weekly readings by enabling students to focus on connected issues and material in greater depth. Seminars will be student-led and facilitated by teaching staff, and will hinge upon group discussion and debate about materials circulated in advance (for example, sets of evidence, scholarship, and questions). In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to hold live seminar discussions online and retain timetabled slots.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M401,500-word log for critical reflection on first 6 wks content, with in-class prompts and guidance
Essay1A602000-word essay answering one of a pre-set list of questions.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MWeekly Canvas quizzes
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Both of the assessment components are intended to assess progress against the module’s intended learning outcomes. The essay (a 2,000-word piece of work responding to a question chosen by the student from a pre-circulated set of options), is intended to allow the student to demonstrate the entire range of the knowledge and skills outcomes, while the portfolio (1,500 words, reflecting on certain weekly content) more specifically gives the opportunity to practise attainment against the skills outcomes. The computer assessment (weekly Canvas tests) is a formative component that helps to establish understanding of key topics in the module in a way that supports completion of the two summative components.

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. 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


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023 academic year.

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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 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.