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ARA1028 : Prehistoric Britain

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Chris Fowler
  • Lecturer: Professor Chantal Conneller
  • 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


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 will 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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion801:0080:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading221:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork17:007:00Fieldtrip
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.

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

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
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.

Reading Lists