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HCA1008 : Global Ancient Histories

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr John Holton
  • Lecturer: Dr Simon Corcoran, Dr Joseph Skinner, Dr Matthew Haysom, Dr Micaela Langellotti, Dr Christina Mobley
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:001 lecture p/w
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials121:0012:00Part of student contact hours (e.g. short lecture recordings)
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.

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
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.

Reading Lists