Accessibility statement

Empires of Improvement


Module leader: Jonathan Finch


This module will focus on the global perspectives which are so important within historical archaeology.

During this module, we will explore the archaeology of the New World, drawing on discussions about the methods and aims of Historical Archaeology in America; the dynamics between the Old and New Worlds through the Atlantic Trade which drove both domestic productivity and enslavement within the African Diaspora; and the ways that techniques of Historical Archaeology have been applied to other settler societies, particularly focusing on the creation and replacement of hisories by colonial authorities in East and South Africa. As such this module connects the local with the global and encourages us to explore the connections between past and present.


  • To understand the role of historical archaeology on a global scale
  • To introduce and explore the main themes current in historical archaeology and colonialism

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module students should have:

  • Knowledge of the role of historical archaeology in connecting global themes
  • Deeper understanding of the methods, theories and approaches commonly applied in historical archaeology
  • Knowledge of case studies relating to artefacts, buildings and landscapes
  • Familiarity with the issues surrounding post-colonial thought in archaeology