Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module will develop students' abilities to apply key concepts across a range of very different geographical and cultural contexts by taking a comparative approach.
  • The module will also provide a foundation for Level 2/3 modules dealing with a selection of ancient societies from Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Far East.


  • The module will embrace a range of geographical areas from amongst the following: Egypt, the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Asia, South Asia (India and Pakistan) and Japan/China, at least three of which will be covered in any one year.
  • Coverage within each geographical area will be adapted to suit the available data, but will address the majority of the following themes.
  • agriculture - the economic base, state formation, the development and nature of urban communities, social stratification and the paraphernalia of power, communication, control and the development of writing, trade and economy, the countryside, perceptions of the past.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will have:
  • Grasped the general outline/frameworks of the archaeology of the specific areas of the ancient East (including Egypt, the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Asia, South Asia and Japan/China) that are covered in the particular year of study.
  • Understood the contribution of archaeological evidence to the study of these societies.
  • Gained a familiarity with the major theories concerning the origins of complex society in the Ancient East.
  • Understood how interpretations are developed from archaeological remains.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Developed an ability to undertake comparative analysis across different geographical and cultural contexts.
  • Applied transferable skills (detailed below) to archaeologically specific tasks and situations.
Key Skills:
  • Introduction to and participation in undertaking a number of study skills, including essay writing.
  • Basic comprehension of analysis and interpretation of secondary data.
  • Basic knowledge of the preparation and effective communication of data, interpretations and arguments.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module is taught through a combination of lectures, a computer test, tutorials, a formative essay and self-guided learning.
  • It is assessed through an essay and an unseen examination.
  • Lectures will ensure the effective communication of key information and theoretical ideas, supported by reading lists and written summaries of follow-up notes posted on DUO, enabling students to gain up-to-date knowledge, as well as guidance on further reading.
  • Tutorials will focus on discussion and feedback between tutors and students in small groups, in a relatively informal learning environment, enabling students to enhance, discuss, question and receive feedback on their knowledge and to gain experience in oral communication and collaborative group-work.
  • Self-guided learning comprises personal study, research, revision and evaluation associated with classes and assignments; guided by lecturers, tutors and reading lists of specialist books, articles and web-sites.
  • Research is embedded into the teaching of this module through the expertise of the lecturers and tutors. The examples and topics chosen within the curriculum will derive from the specialist research interests of the staff teaching the module, and students are introduced to the results of the research of their teachers as well as the wider context of the subject.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1-2 Per Week 1 Hour 20
Tutorials 3 1 Per Term 1 Hour 3
Other 2 2
Preparation and Reading 175
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 33%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1500 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 67%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment may include a range of quizzes, short answer tests and other short assignments related to the learning outcomes of the module.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University