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ARA2016 : Aegean Prehistory

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Matthew Haysom
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims:
•       To provide students with advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of some of the key periods and debates in the archaeology of Greece.
•       To provide students with a critical understanding of the sources and methods that are available to Greek archaeologists including archaeological excavation and survey, material culture and artefact studies, epigraphy and literary texts.
•       To provide students with a critical understanding of the theoretical debates surrounding the rise and fall of social complexity and urbanisation.

Outline Of Syllabus

On multiple occasions through the Bronze and Iron Ages of Greece complex urban societies formed only to collapse and then form again. This punctuated pattern of the rise and fall of civilisation provides a perfect environment in which to ask some of the big questions in archaeology. Why do complex societies sometimes form? What brings people together to live in large urban settlements? What causes previously successful social forms to fail? What impact have events like natural disasters, climate change, and population movements had on human history? Do complex social and economic systems contain the seeds of their own destruction?

This course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the archaeology of Greece from 2000 BC through to 500 BC. This covers the rise and fall of Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations, culminating in the rise of classical Greek city-states. We will look at a wide array of themes such as agriculture, craft, trade, power, warfare, burial, religion, and everyday life. Through these themes we shall explore the factors that led to social change.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion381:0038:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Weekly lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading961:0096:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities113:0033:00Seminar preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Weekly Seminars
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture recordings will introduce you to key topics and how to approach them. A small amount of preliminary reading will be set for each 2 hour block of lecture recordings. Teacher-introduced lecture materials are not merely intended to provide you with answers. Instead, they will provide you with the knowledge and skills that will enable you to both formulate and answer your own questions. To that end, lecture recordings will be interspersed with activities on canvas that develop your engagement with the material and analytical skills. As an additional support for the learning materials in lectures there will be a weekly drop in/discussion.

Seminars are an opportunity for you to develop your understanding dynamically, e.g. by engaging in discussion of how you should go about addressing questions, the relative merits of different types of evidence or approach to the sources or by gaining clarification of any points that you do not understand. In doing so you will develop your analytical skills, oral communication skills and your ability to work as part of a team. Reading and research tasks will be set to be completed in advance of each seminar.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M501500 words (excluding bibliography)
Essay2A50Three literature reviews totalling 1500 words (including references, excluding bibliography)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MOne 500 word practice literature review, supporting summative assessment.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The literature reviews will require you to critically engage with key pieces of scholarship, placing them in the historiography of the subject. They directly support the lecture and seminar content, testing your general knowledge and understanding of the subject plus your ability to think analytically and write clearly and succinctly about key debates. The formative assessment will allow practice in this unfamiliar form of written assessment and the opportunity for feedback.

The essay tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

Reading Lists