Prehistory to the Present


Module leader: Don Henson


Prehistory to the Present charts the span of Archaeology, some 3.4 million years. The module starts with the Palaeolithic, ends with Archaeology of the contemporary past, and covers everything in between. Each week, one of our Lecturers introduces the key archaeological evidence, sites and debates from each time period.

Module credit: 20 credits
Teaching methods: 8 lectures (2 hours each)

The module ends with an exam (the only one in the course), which has multiple choice and has sections for all the periods covered in the lectures.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should have:

  • a basic understanding of the major chronological phases of world archaeology, from early prehistory through to the modern and industrial periods
  • an awareness of the types of evidence archaeologists study, and the processes we can infer from that material
  • a greater appreciation of the depth of chronology and the breadth of evidence that exists in the archaeological record


During this module you will develop the following skills which will be of use to you during your degree and into future employment:
  • Self management: in a lecture module like this it is particularly important that you develop your self management skills, and particularly plan time each week for reading and independent study (remember you should be doing 10-20 hours a week of reading on this module), the ability to work autonomously, and the will to succeed. 
  • Communication: your written communication skills should be developing as you learn through this term how to write an academic essay and present a strong argument
  • Problem solving: for your essay and in revision for your exam you will need to synthesise (bring together) evidence and data from different things that you have read, and then evaluate that information 
  • Social, cultural and global awareness: through your reading you should be thinking about cultures and customs from other countries
  • Application of IT: you will be using word processing in order to write your essay but you may also want to learn Endnote (or a similar package) so that you can begin to store references. You will also be taught how to use the internet to access electronic journal articles

This was a fantastic overview- before doing this module I had no idea how different periods linked together.