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ARA3100 : Archaeologies of the Middle Sea: An Armchair Voyage Across the Prehistoric Mediterranean (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Andrea Dolfini
  • Lecturer: Dr Joseph Skinner, Dr Matthew Haysom
  • 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


What made the Mediterranean Sea the centre of gravity for so many ancient civilisations? Who built megalithic temples on Malta and astounding palaces and sanctuaries on Crete? Who were the Mycenaeans? What triggered the transition from egalitarian to ranked societies? How did the earliest Etruscan and Greek cities arose, and why? The module will address these questions (among others) and explore the socio-political trajectories taken by Mediterranean communities and polities from the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition to the Iron Age, c.10,000 to 500 BC. As part of this fascinating armchair journey, we will explore as diverse themes as the spread of the Neolithic way of life; the emergence of social complexity in Copper Age Iberia; the rise and fall of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations in the Bronze Age Aegean; and the emergence of urban societies in Iron Age Greece and Italy. The module includes in-person thematic lectures, seminars, and student presentations. Online material such as lecture videos and revision quizzes are available on Canvas. The lectures present overviews of cultural frameworks and social developments; the seminars provide opportunities to discuss current problems in later Mediterranean prehistory; and the online resources offer meaningful opportunities to test and deepen your subject knowledge. By the end of the semester, you will be conversant with the main cultural frameworks of later Mediterranean prehistory, major social developments occurring in the region from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, and selected problems of scholarly debate.

The aims of the module are:
• To provide students with a critical overview of cultural and social developments in the prehistoric Mediterranean, c.10,000-500 BC.
• To provide students with in-depth knowledge and understanding of selected themes and subjects in later Mediterranean prehistory.
• To provide students with a critical understanding of key social transformations in the prehistoric Mediterranean, with particular reference to the spread of the Neolithic way of life, the emergence of social complexity, and the rise of pre-classical urban societies.

Outline Of Syllabus

Themes explored during the module may include: Mediterranean landscapes and seascapes; the emergence and spread of the Neolithic way of life; the Copper Age in Italy and Malta; the emergence of social complexity in Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Iberia; the Minoan and Mycenaeans civilisations; the Bronze and Iron Ages in Italy including the early Etruscans; and urbanism and state formation in Iron Age Italy and Greece.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture92:0018:00n/a
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion361:0036:00Preparation of assessed powerpoint and essay
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading361:0036:00Directed research and reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00n/a
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities112:0022:00Non-synchronous structured research activities, formative practice and skill enhancement
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops23:006:00Student project presentations
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study731:0073:00Independent study
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
ARA8131Archaeologies of the Middle Sea: An Armchair Voyage Across the Prehistoric Mediterranean
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide in-depth knowledge concerning key themes and topics. Seminars promote debate over, and critical evaluation of, the themes and topics covered in the lectures. Student project presentations (aka workshops) improve student communication skills and provide an opportunity for reviewed formative assessment. Structured research and reading activities, including weekly revision quizzes and online resources, test student understanding and provide further opportunities for interactive learning.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A753000 word essay critically discussing a research problem in later Mediterranean prehistory
Case study1M2512 slide PowerPoint presentation exploring a research problem in Later Mediterranean Prehistory.
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
Oral Presentation1M15 minute class presentation of student project
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessed project enables students to work originally, independently and in-depth on a theme, region or period of their choice in Mediterranean prehistory, from the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition to the emergence of classical civilisations. The project is operationally split into two components: PowerPoint presentation (25%), which the students submit having received feedback during an oral class presentation (formative assessment), and a 3000 word essay that develops the topic at greater critical depth.

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