ARC1010 - Themes in World Archaeology

2022/3 Module description

StaffDr Malene Lauritsen - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
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 you to the major recurrent themes that form the foundation of archaeological research and 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

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Becoming and being human
  • Hunter-gatherer lifeways and societies
  • Domestication, pastoralism and the origins of agriculture
  • Settlement and beginnings of urbanisation
  • 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 and teaching1111 x 1 hour theme-based online presentations
Scheduled learning and teaching28 x 0.5 hour theme-based online introductions
Scheduled learning and teaching24 x 0.5 hour online study skills presentations
Scheduled learning and teaching7Guided theme-based discussion forums
Guided independent study126Guided 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 feedback

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
Essay601500 words1-8Written feedback
Examination (electronic)401.5 hours1-5Factual examination

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay (2000 words)Essay (2000 words)1-8Referral/Deferral period
Examination (electronic)Examination (electronic)1-5Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - 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?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Archaeology, Themes, World

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