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AY1504: CAVES TO KINGDOMS: AN INTRODUCTION TO PREHISTORIC ARCHAEOLOGY (2019-2020)

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Course Overview

This course provides a romping introduction to the deep human past, from our earliest hominin origins in Africa to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms in Northern Europe. Along the way we will discover the key stages in the evolution of our species and what it means to be 'human', from our use of symbols to express thoughts, ritualistic behaviours to our domestication of plants and animals and militarized empires. The archaeological evidence for these fundamental transitions in human societies provides us with powerful insights into some of the world's most fascinating civilizations,

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Karen Milek

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Distance Learning (Studied) or Archaeology Iss (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

This coures will introduce you to the key concepts of what it is to be human, what constitutes 'complexity' in past human societies, and how the trajectories that lead to the development of complex societies differed around the world. By the end of the course, you  will be able to: explain the key stages and mechanisms in the evolution of Homo sapiens; outline the key dates, geographical locations and environmental contexts of different hominin species; discuss early prehistoric subsistence strategies and tool technologies, and how these developed over time; explain the earliest evidence for art, religion, abstract reasoning, and human cognition; name and explain the most important transitions in human (pre)history, including global dispersals, the origins of agriculture and writing, and the emergence of urban life, social elites, and state polities, drawing on examples from around the world; outline the most important changes that were taking place in human societies in each of the key stages in Northern European and British prehistory, from the Palaeolithic Period, through the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age, to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms.

Course Aims: This course aims to introduce students to the key concepts of what it is to be human, what constitutes 'complexity' in past human societies, and how the trajectories that lead to the development of complex societies differed around the world.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the key stages and mechanisms in the evolution of Homo sapiens
  • Outline the key dates, geographical locations and environmental contexts of different hominin species
  • Discuss early prehistoric subsistence strategies and tool technologies, and how these developed over time
  • Explain the earliest evidence for ?art?, ?religion?, abstract reasoning, and human cognition
  • Name and explain the most important transitions in human (pre)history, including global dispersals, the origins of agriculture and writing, and the emergence of urban life, social elites, and state polities, drawing on examples from around the world
  • Outline the most important changes that were taking place in human societies in each of the key stages in Northern European and British prehistory, from the Palaeolithic Period, through the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age, to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms.

Content: This course provides a romping introduction to the deep human past, from our earliest hominin origins in Africa to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms in Northern Europe. Along the way we will discover the key stages in the evolution of our species and what it means to be 'human', how and why we first began to express our thoughts in symbolic ways, how ritual behaviours evolved, how we came to be dispersed around the globe, how and why we began to domesticate plants and animals and change the environments we live in, why we started to write and live in cities, and what these earliest writings and cities looked like, when and where the first states developed, and what characterised social elites and the first militarized empires in key regions around the world. The archaeological evidence for these fundamental transitions in human societies provides us with powerful insights into some of the world's most fascinating civilizations, from Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt to the Mayans, Incas, ancient Greece and Rome, and of course the prehistoric cultures of Northern Europe, including the British Isles.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Archaeology (Distance Learning)
  • Certificate in Science (Archaeology)
  • Certificate in Science (Geoscience)
  • MA Archaeology (Distance Learning)

Summative Assessments

Exam

Exam Type Summative Weighting 50
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Learning Outcomes
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No data available

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Feedback

Students who achieve 15 or over in the continuous assessment may be exempt from the final examination.

Feedback on the summative assessment will be on a feedback sheet that has a marking rubric table and space for comments, as well as comments written directly on the assessments themselves.

Learning Outcomes
NameKnowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
No data available

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Resit Assessments

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Resubmission of failed element

Exam Type Summative Weighting 50
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Course Learning Outcomes

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