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Introducing British Archaeology

Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.

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Britain is steeped in history; from the footprints of our earliest hominid ancestors to the grand castles of Kings in the Middle Ages these islands are rich in their archaeological traces. This course is designed to provide an introductory outline of the archaeology of Britain from the earliest human occupation to the end of the later Middle Ages and to give you a sequence of the archaeological record which will stand you in good stead in the future if you are going on to do more archaeology module addressing specific themes and periods.

The course is designed to (a) give you a basic knowledge of the surviving, material culture and sites in Britain from the earliest times to the later Middle Ages, and (b) to develop your knowledge if the way archaeologists have interpreted this evidence and tried to set it within wider frameworks of understanding.

Course schedule

Week 1: Introduction: Archaeology in Britain

Week 2: Britain in the beginning: The Palaeolithic

Week 3: Mesolithic Britain: hunters-gatherers and fishers

Week 4: Neolithic Britain: Megaliths, the earliest farmers and their ancestors

Week 5: Bronze Age Britain: Barrow burials, metal-work and ceramics

Week 6: Iron Age Britain: Hillforts and early tribal chieftains

Week 7: Roman Britain: Romanisation, barracks and burials

Week 8: Anglo-Saxon Britain: Good deaths and bad deaths – the archers’ grave

Week 9: Viking Britain: Scandinavian invaders?

Week 10: Medieval Britain: Moving from the ‘dark ages’ into kingdoms

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in the topic. No previous knowledge of the subject is assumed.

Learning and Teaching

Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include group discussion, exercises, source analysis and presentation of material on video and/or DVD. The aim is ensure that the classes are enjoyable and stimulating for all. This will encourage the development of knowledge and understanding of the topics and ideas discussed in the course.

Coursework and Assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

You will not have a formal examination but you will be asked to produce some written work (1500 words). This may include a set of short responses to questions (for example, three pieces examining three key archaeological sites) or a more extended essay.

Reading suggestions

Darvill, T. 1987. Prehistoric Britain. Batsford, London.

Greene, K 2002 Archaeology: an introduction. 3rd edition. London: Routedge

Hunter, J & Ralston I (eds) 1999 The archaeology of Britain: an introduction from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Industrial Revolution. London: Routledge

Johnson, M 1999 Archaeological theory: an introduction. Oxford: Blackwell

Megaw, J.V.S. and Simpson., D.D.A., 1984. Introduction to British Prehistory. Leicester University Press, Leicester.

Renfrew, C & Bahn, P 2004 Archaeology: theories, methods and practice. Fourth edition. London: Thames & Hudson

Tarlow, S & West, S (eds) 1999 The familiar past? Archaeologies of later historical Britain. London: Routledge

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.