ARA3118 : Origins and Transformations: Early Prehistoric Europe
- Offered for Year: 2019/20
- Module Leader(s): Dr Chantal Conneller
- Lecturer: Dr Eline Van Asperen
- Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
|Semester 2 Credit Value:||20|
This course aims to give students an advanced understanding key transformations in human society from the first appearance of Homo sapiens in Europe to the end of the Mesolithic (c40,000-4000BC). This vast periods of time encompasses dramatic transformations in society, beliefs, climate and landscape.
The course will examine a number of the key debates and themes for this period, such as the extinction of the Neanderthals, Upper Palaeolithic art, the emergence Mesolithic cemeteries and human responses to dramatic climate change. We will think critically about approaches to origins research, and the impact of early prehistory on the present. Lectures will explore how early prehistorians deal with the fragile and fragmentary archaeological record for this period (human fossils, stone tool, animal remains) to understand the big issues of the time. The course will explore how archaeologists have dealt with this ephemeral evidence to produce rich and varied accounts of Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic life.
• To develop students’ understanding of the key issues and debates the European Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic.
• To familiarise students with the material remains of Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic life and the historical context of its interpretation.
• To introduce students to the methodologies and theoretical approaches used by archaeologists to address this material and the problems that these pose.
• To familiarise students with the major environmental changes of the period.
• To enable students to think critically about the socio-political aspects of origins research
Outline Of Syllabus
The syllabus may vary slightly from year to year, but the following is indicative of the module structure:
Lecture (1hr) Introduction
Lecture (1hr) Quaternary environments and climate change
Seminar (1 hr) Imagining Neanderthals: popular depictions of early life
Lecture (1hr) The emergence of Modern Humans
Lecture (1hr) Neanderthals: Interaction and extinction
Seminar (1hr) Debate: Sapiens v Neanderthals
Lecture (1hr) The Aurignacian: origins of art and adornment?
Lecture (1hr) Venuses and vengeful spirits: The Gravettian
Seminar (1hr). Gravettian burials
Lecture (1hr) Life in the Ice Age
Lecture (1hr) ‘A cavalcade of animals’: The Magdalenian apogee of cave art
Seminar (1hr) The Venus figurines
Lecture (1hr) The reoccupation of northern Europe
Lecture (1hr) Ice Age Fauna
Seminar (1hr) Interpreting cave art
Lecture (1hr) What is the Mesolithic?
Lecture (1hr) Sea-level rise and environmental change
Seminar (1hr) Museum practical
Lecture (1hr) Mesolithic cemeteries
Lecture (1hr) Alternative mortuary traditions: extended processes
Seminar (1hr) Death, bodies and identities
Lecture (1hr) The Early Mesolithic in Southern Scandinavia and Northern Germany
Lecture (1hr) Complex hunter-gatherers of the Late Mesolithic
Seminar (1hr) Social Complexity
Lecture (1hr) Early Mesolithic Britain
Lecture (1hr) Late Mesolithic Britain and Ireland
Seminar (1hr) Mesolithic houses
Lecture (1hr) Mesolithic in northern France
Fieldtrip to Creswell Crags (1 day)
Lecture (1hr) The Greek Mesolithic
Lecture (1hr) Times of change in the Iron Gates Gorge
Seminar (1hr) Shamanism
Seminar (1hr) revision session
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||65||1:00||65:00||1/3 Guided independent study|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||21||1:00||21:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Directed research and reading||65||1:00||65:00||1/3 Guided independent study|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Practical||1||1:00||1:00||Artefact handling|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Small group teaching||10||1:00||10:00||Seminars|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Fieldwork||1||6:00||6:00||Fieldtrip to Creswell Crags|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||32||1:00||32:00||1/3 Guided independent study|
Jointly Taught With
|ARA8118||Origins and Transformations: Early Prehistoric Europe|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
A series of subject-specific lectures will provide a detailed outline of key transformations in human society during the period with the impact of environmental change highlighted. Seminars will provide students with the opportunity to explore key debates in greater depth and in particular have been designed to encourage students to interpret archaeological evidence in an imaginative manner, and to critically explore the socio-political effects of origins research. Seminars, structured round small group work and discussion and including a formal debate, provide an opportunity for teamwork, peer-review and oral presentation. A museum practical will give students the opportunity for in depth examination of material culture of the period that has been introduced to them in the lectures. The fieldtrip will allow students to explore a key complex of sites in its landscape setting.
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Essay||2||M||60||2500 words on Upper Palaeolithic topic|
|Research proposal||2||M||40||2000 words on project to reinterpret key Mesolithic site|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
Assessment will permit students to explore module themes through independent research, build arguments from the evidence of the period, critically reflect on key debates and develop their writing style. The essay is designed for students to focus on key debates in the Upper Palaeolithic, critically assess competing interpretations and draw on archaeological evidence to evaluate arguments and offer original interpretations. The project allows students to focus in detail on an iconic Mesolithic site, to evaluate its significance and offer their own proposal for future research, testing their knowledge of the material, as well as imagination and originality.
This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.
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 12pm 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.