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Telling Tales and Digging Ditches: Archaeology and Folklore

Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.

Available Dates:

Not Presently Available.
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Course Description

Folklore and archaeology have been intertwined since the days when ancient monuments were attributed to the druids. Since then the relationship between the disciplines continues to provide ways of interpreting the past. In this course we will examine how new perspectives in archaeology and folklore have affected our perception of sites and civilizations. Material will be drawn from archaeology, historical writing, folklore, mythology and literature. Special attention will be given to the worldview of medieval and early modern sources, antiquarian and folklore research, and the role of re-invention in creating identities. In addition, we will consider the interaction of folklore and archaeology in relation to specific archaeological sites, for example the interplay of Celtic, Roman and Arthurian traditions at Caerleon, the interpretations of ancient Mexican culture associated with El Tajin, and the rock art of southern Africa.


Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone with an interest in either archaeology or folklore 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

This course consists of nine units divided into themes. Each unit comprises a 2-hour face-to-face session between 7pm and 9pm. These sessions will include lectures, class discussions and group-work, source analysis activities and exercises to develop your academic skills. There will also be an opportunity for learning outside of the classroom, facilitated by the university’s Virtual learning Environment, Blackboard.


Coursework and Assessment

Students will be expected to complete two pieces of assessed work: a 500-word source analysis and a 1000-word essay. Advice and support will be provided for both assignments and you will receive detailed feedback relating to strengths and areas for improvement on both pieces of work.


Reading suggestions

Kenneth L. Feder, Frauds, myths, and mysteries: science and pseudoscience in archaeology, Boston, Mass.: McGraw-Hill Mayfield, 2002, 4th ed.

Jerome Voss, ‘Cultural Values in Archeological folklore’ Folklore 98 (1987) 80-90

Robert J Wallis; Kenneth Lymer, A permeability of boundaries?: New approaches to the archaeology of art, religion and folklore. Oxford: J. and E. Hedges: Archaeopress 2001

Robert Layton Who needs the past?: Indigenous values and archaeology London, New York: Routledge,1994


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 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.


Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.