Shrines, Stars and Sacrifice: Understanding Prehistoric Ritual
Level 4, 10 Credits.
- Not Presently Available.
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Religious rituals relate to beliefs which exist primarily in the mind and therefore leave few recoverable traces. Yet there are some key techniques that archaeologists use to understand rituals from prehistoric periods. This course will introduce you to some of the approaches that can help us to make sense of ritual activity in prehistoric Europe.
In so doing, we will test the potentials and limitations of archaeological interpretation. Case studies will range from Palaeolithic cave art to Neolithic burial practices, from architectural evidence (burial mounds and temples) to astronomical orientations and sacred objects. Students will also be given an introduction to anthropological approaches to ritual and to some of the scientific processes that archaeologists can deploy to reconstruct what happened in the past.
Who is this course for?
This course is for anyone with an interest in archaeology and the enthusiasm to take that interest further. It operates as part of the Exploring the Past pathway, and will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills that will help you to study other courses in the pathway.
Learning and Teaching
The bulk of the teaching for this course will take place over a weekend school (three hours on a Friday evening, then six hours on Saturday and another six hours on Sunday). These sessions will include short lectures, interactive workshops, class discussions and debates, and group exercises to develop your academic skills. In addition, there will be support both before and after the weekend school, facilitated via email contact and through Learning Central, the university’s Virtual Learning Environment.
Coursework and Assessment
Students will be expected to provide two pieces of assessed work: a 500 word report (with time given over during the weekend to complete this and receive detailed feedback) and a 1000 word essay (which will be expected to be submitted within two weeks of the weekend course). Advice and support will be provided for both assignments.
- Barrowclough, D. and Malone, C. (eds). 2007. Cult in Context: Reconsidering Ritual in Archaeology. Oxford: Oxbow.
- Brück, J. 1999. Ritual and rationality: some problems of interpretation in European archaeology. European Journal of Archaeology 2, 313-44.
- Fogelin, L. 2007. The archaeology of religious ritual. Annual Review of Anthropology 36, 55-71.
- Insoll, T. 2004. Archaeology, Ritual, Religion. London: Routledge.
- James, W. 2003. The Ceremonial Animal: A New Portrait of Anthropology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Van Gennep, A. 1960. The Rites of Passage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Library and Computing Facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cf.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on (029) 2087 0000.
Accessibility of Courses
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.
A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cf.ac.uk/learn or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.