ARC1010 - Themes in World Archaeology

2016/7 Module description

StaffDr Gillian Juleff - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module description

What developments shaped human history and how are they manifested in the Archaeological record? This module will explore major overarching patterns of human behaviour and social change, from the earliest evidence for tool-making, through the emergences of cities and complex societies, to the global configurations of the colonial and post-colonial era. Using examples and case studies from across the world, the module will introduce the archaeological evidence that has elucidated these patterns, including many key sites, projects and archaeologists. 

Module aims

The module introduces students to the major recurrent themes that form the foundation of archaeological research and are archaeology's contribution to understanding human and social development.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Develop an awareness of global patterns in Archaeology
  • 2. Become familiar with many major archaeological sites and projects
  • 3. Develop an understanding of how the syntheses and interpretation of archaeological evidence can inform thematic debates

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Assimilate a basic understanding of the chronology and character of human development
  • 5. Appreciate the role archaeology plays in understanding human and social development

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Research a topic using a reading list and assimilate data from given sources
  • 7. Develop basic academic and library skills
  • 8. Learn how to reference in Harvard style
  • 9. Meet deadlines, manage their own time; contribute to group work and class discussions

Syllabus plan

Indicative topics

  • Becoming and being human
  • Hunter-gatherer lifeways and societies
  • Domestication, pastoralism and the origins of agriculture
  • Settlement and beginnings of urbanization
  • Belief systems, ritual and burial practices
  • Technology, trade and economy
  • Social complexity: why and how societies develop, thrive and decline

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning activity2010 x 2 hour classes
Scheduled learning activity24 x 0.5 group discussions
Guided independent study128Guided independent study, including reading, research and preparation for classes, presentation and assignments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay500 words1-4Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay602000 words1-8Written
Exam (electronic)401.5 hours1-5Factual exam

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay2000 word essay1-8Referred/Deferred period
Exam (electronic)Exam (electronic)1-5Referred/Deferred period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Bogucki, P. 1999: The Origins of Human Society. Oxford: Blackwell.

Cunliffe, B. (ed.) 1994: Prehistoric Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Darvill, T. 2010: Prehistoric Britain. Routledge

Fagan, B.M. 1998: People of the Earth (9th edition). London: Pearson.

Scarre, C. (ed.) 2005: The Human Past: World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies (2nd Edition). London: Thames and Hudson.

Renfrew, C and Bahn, P. (2014). The Cambridge World Prehistory.  Cambridge UP.

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Archaeology, Themes, World

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