1 x 1-hour lecture weekly
1 x 2-hour tutorial weekly
Assignment, Online quizzes, Project
Topic description
This topic provides and introduction to the Bronze Age in Europe, Africa and Asia, and first urbanised states of the Americas. Bronze Age is a critical period for the development of ancient civilisations characterised by the invention of writing, urbanism, administrative and legislative systems and hierarchy, developments of international trade routes and monumental infrastructure as well as progress in technology, science (including first attempts at astronomy and medicines) and arts. For many the sheer mention of ‘archaeology’ immediately conjures the images of Sphinx, Minoan Frescoes, Sumerian tablets, Mayan Pyramids or Aztec temples – all of them constructs of this period. The aim of the topic is to present a global overview of this important period in different parts of the world through the analyses of social and cultural processes that led to initial development of urbanised societies so prevalent in our modern world. Throughout this topic students will look at a number of case studies of great ancient cities and compare them to the construct of the city in different periods of history.
Educational aims
This topic aims to:

  1. Provide students with a basic understanding of the concept of ‘civilisation’ and its relationship with the history of archaeological scholarship

  2. Provide students with an appreciation of diversity of global archaeological heritage and the concept of ‘simultaneous discovery’

  3. Determine the relationships between the invention of writing, administration and legislation and the transition from prehistory to history

  4. Examine the variety of social and cultural constructs of early urabanised societies

  5. Develop research abilities through individual engagement with scholarly literature and written work

  6. Develop critical and lateral thinking, and oral presentation skills.
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Appraise the importance of early urbanisation on the development of empires and civilisations globally

  2. Critique the concept of ‘multiple/simultaneous discovery’ as applied to invention of writing and urbanism (and the pyramids)

  3. Critically evaluate the difference between the prehistory and the history based on course content

  4. Discuss their choices and engagement with a specific case study of a city from its foundation till today

  5. Apply both lateral and critical thinking during coursework

  6. Discuss scientific understanding using good presentation skills and a diverse range of media, such as a poster

  7. Produce tertiary education level written work which reflects solid grounding in basic research methods (including referencing, formatting, etc.).