AR2P6-Later Prehistoric Europe

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Duncan Garrow


Summary module description:
This module covers the prehistoric period from the end of the Mesolithic through to the Middle Iron Age (c. 10,000-800 BC) right across Europe, from Turkey and the Balkans to Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia. We will address important research questions such as the effects of climate change and sea-level rise on human lives, why farming initially spread across the continent, how and why burial rites changed through time, how the first use of metals came about, and the kinds of society that developed before the Roman Empire. We will look amongst other things at settlement and burial archaeology, ritual practice and comparative anthropology. The aim of the module is to provide an introduction to later prehistoric archaeology across Europe, and to the types of archaeological evidence that are encountered when studying this period. We will also go on a behind the scenes field trip to the British Museum’s ‘Britain, Europe and Prehistory’ galleries.

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the major social and economic changes that took place in Europe from c. 8000-800 BC.

Assessable learning outcomes:
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

Recognize the particular character of the archaeological evidence for this period
Identify the major social and economic changes of this period
Evaluate critically different interpretations of these changes
Compare changes in different regions of Europe for this period

Additional outcomes:
Participation in seminars will enable students to develop and apply their communication and presentation skills through structured discussion sessions and presentations. Research and analytical skills will be developed through participation in the seminars and completion of the written coursework components.

Outline content:
This module covers the prehistoric period in Europe from the end of the Mesolithic through to the Roman Iron Age (c. 8000-800 BC).

The sorts of topic covered include:

1. The Mesolithic: hunter-gatherers across Europe
2. The idea and spread of farming
3. Monumental architecture and the creation of place
4. Settlements: what did a Neolithic settlement look like?
5. Death and burial in Neolithic Europe: interpreting Neolithic burials
6. Art and material culture in later prehistoric Europe
7. Metal, individual burials and the rise of ‘elites’
8. Bronze Age networks – Beakers and bronzeworking
9. Axes, swords and ritual deposition
10. Elite contact with the Mediterranean during the Early Iron Age

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This course is taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, group discussions and debates, student presentations, directed reading, assignments and a field trip.

There will be 10 main teaching sessions. Each session will last two hours, mostly divided into a one hour lecture, and a one-hour discussion/seminar.

As a 20 credit module, the module should involve 200 hours of study time: attending lectures and seminars, general background reading, preparing for seminars, and reading for, and writing, your written coursework, and revising for the exam. You should therefore expect the following sort of workload:

20 - Contact hours in formal teaching sessions (lectures, seminars, etc.)
8 - Field trip
60 - General background reading and note-taking from key texts for each week
60 - Reading for, preparation of, and writing your essay
10 - Reading, note-taking, and preparation of your seminar presentation
42 - Exam Revision

Introductory Reading
Jones, A. 2008 (ed.). Prehistoric Europe: theory and practice. Oxford: Blackwell.

Scarre, C. 2009. The human past. London: Thames & Hudson.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 1
Seminars 10 1
Guided independent study 150 28
Total hours by term 170.00 30.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Written assignment including essay 60

Other information on summative assessment:
One essay, 2500 words (60%)
One exam, 2 questions, 2 hours (40%)

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One unseen two-hour paper, to be taken at the time of Part 2 examinations.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination or re-submission of coursework in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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