Interpreting the Past - 40 credits (HST536)
In this module, students critically assess the major topics and themes in current archaeological theory. The module is taught through weekly seminars for which students read and take responsibility for the discussion of specific texts, many of them classic statements. The module serves both to discuss the classic movements and thinkers of theoretical archaeology as well as to ensure that all students taking the MA have a critical grounding in these classic texts. The module ranges from the relatively recent history of archaeology to the diversity of current approaches. The module is assessed by two extended essay (4000 words each). Major topics studied (autumn): the development of archaeological thought: processual archaeology; the development of archaeological thought: post-processual archaeology; sources of current theory in related disciplines; agency and individuals; gendered approaches; material culture; ethnoarchaeology and the role of analogy; social characterisation; mortuary archaeology and the treatment of the dead; habitus and the built environment; landscape; time; ancestors and the past; value systems; scales of action and scales of interpretation.