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Module

ARA2011 : Prehistoric Europe

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chantal Conneller
  • Lecturer: Dr Francesco Carrer, Dr Sophie Hueglin, Dr Chris Fowler
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This course explores the archaeology of Europe from the appearance of our own species at around 40,000 years ago to the end of the Iron Age. This is a period that witnesses a number of key transformations: a change in human species, social organisation, new relationships with animals and the landscape and the use of new materials such as ceramics and metals. The module aims to give students a broad understanding the emergence of these changes across Europe and how they played out at a regional level. Through this we will address number of major issues and key debates that have arisen in the interpretation of the archaeology of this period. These include the extinction of the Neanderthals and the emergence of spiritual beliefs at the height of the last ice age; the adoption of the Neolithic and monumental architecture; the appearance of metal and associated social changes; population mobility and cultural interaction in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic; changes in understandings of the landscape, identity and death in the Bronze and Iron Age.


Aims:
• To introduce students to key themes and debates in an archaeological understanding of European Prehistory.
• To familiarise students with the defining characteristics and the archaeological materials encountered in the Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic (& Beaker period), Bronze Age and Iron Age periods.
• To introduce students to the approaches used by archaeologists to address this material and the problems that these pose.
• To provide students with an awareness of the regional variation involved in the way these key transformations were played out across Europe.
• To develop students’ ability to discuss the relationship between evidence and interpretation

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus may vary slightly from year to year, but the following is broadly indicative of the module structure:

Week 1. The emergence of Modern Humans.
Introduction
Themes: The last days of the Neanderthals.
Seminar (1hr) Thinking through human origins

Week 2. The Upper Palaeolithic
Themes: The origins of spirituality: The Early Upper Palaeolithic
Themes: Life in the Ice Age
Seminar (1hr) Interpreting Cave Art

Week 3. The Mesolithic
Themes: Pioneers in the north
Themes: The first cemeteries
Seminar (1hr) Death in the Mesolithic

Week 4. Neolithic
Themes: Neolithic settlements and monuments in southeast and central Europe
Themes: Neolithic settlements and monuments in northern Europe
Seminar (1 hr) What is so important about Neolithic houses?

Week 5. Late Neolithic
Themes: Cultural change, population mobility and social interaction in the third millennium – Yamnaya, Corded Ware and early Beaker communities
Themes: The Beaker people
Seminar: (1 hr) What is so important about Beaker burials? Debating cultural identity in the third millennium

Week 6. The Chalcolithic and the origins of metallurgy
Themes: The Origins of Metallury
Themes: Exchanging, using and depositing metalwork in Chalcolithic Italy
Seminar (1hr) Why metal?

Week 7. Late Neolithic/Corded Ware/Beakers
Themes: Cultural change, population mobility and social interaction in the third millennium – Yamnaya, Corded Ware and early Beaker communities
Themes: The Beaker people
Seminar: What is so important about Beaker burials? Debating cultural identity in the third millennium

Week 8. Early Bronze Age
Themes: Central Europe
Themes: Life, death and the cosmos in Early Bronze Age Northern Europe
Seminar (1hr) Identity in EBA northern Europe

Week 9. Late Bronze Age
Themes: Exploring Bronze Age hoarding practices
Themes: Violence and warfare in Bronze Age society
Seminar (1hr)Identity in Bronze Age Europe

Week 10. The Early Iron Age
Themes: The Halsttat ‘princely seats’
Themes: From Hallstatt Circles to La Tène Scrolls: the (Ex)Change of Mind and Matter with the Mediterranean
Seminar (1hr) The Horse, the Wheel and the Chariot

Week 11. The Late Iron Age
Themes: Late Iron Age: Urbanisation and State Formation
Themes: Late Iron Age: Mortuary Ritual (or Rubbish)
Seminar (1hr) Celts, Celtic and La Tène

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00PiP
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Included in contact hours
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion651:0065:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading113:0033:00Independent reading, based on reading list
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00PiP
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities102:0020:00Set reading for seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00poster workshop
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study491:0049:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

A series of subject-specific lectures and supporting materials (podcasts, videos etc) will provide a detailed outline of the key features and social changes encountered in European Prehistory. Seminars will provide students with the opportunity to explore key debates in greater depth and interpret archaeological material. A workshop on poster production will enable students to successfully complete assessment 2.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M602500 words
Poster2A401000 word upper limit
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The extended essay will provide experience of discussing subject-specific knowledge, including the relationship between evidence and interpretation, and encourage understanding, time management and literacy skills. The poster will test students' abilities to investigate specific case studies, drawing upon detailed archaeological evidence, and its relation to broader issues. It will test their ability to present evidence concisely and in an engaging manner. All submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

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 12 pm 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