Accessibility statement

Archaeology of Colonialism


Module leader: Daryl Stump


The purpose of the special topic is to allow students to study the archaeology of a well defined time, space or theme in a small seminar group. This enables them to come to grips with primary source material (verbal and written, as appropriate) and to apply to it the theoretical and thematic perspectives learned over the first and second years, so as to acquire a deeper knowledge of one aspect of the past than in more general courses.


The specific goals of the module are to familiarise students with the different theoretical perspectives, issues, research methods and interpretations associated with the archaeological study of colonialism under different social, political and historical circumstances. In terms of its chronological scope, the course will begin with a consideration of the archaeology of Ancient Greek and Roman colonialism, and progress through a series of case studies that include Ottoman colonial expansion during the 16th century, and European colonialism in the New World, Australasia and Africa up to the 20th century.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate a broad and comparative knowledge of the archaeology of colonialism
  • critically discuss and assess the key theories, methods and debates, and their limitations 
  • critically evaluate primary data and evidence
  • communicate an in-depth, logical and structured argument, supported by archaeological evidence


During this module you will be building on the skills you have learnt in the first and second years. The Special Topic will particularly help you develop:
  • Self management: you have learnt to plan your time and work autonomously in the last couple of years, but it is now even more important that you take the initiative this term and manage your time effectively to cope with the demands of this module (for which you should be dedicating about 3-4 days of your time per week) against the demands of the dissertation, and your other committments
  • Communication: this is the last chance to practice your verbal communication skills and take account of your feedback before you do presentations in Assessed Seminars, which will count towards your final degree. You also need to make sure you have really understood how to write a strong academic argument which is required in the summative essay, but you will have the chance to practice this further in the formative essay for the module - make sure you attend feedback sessions so that you understand how to improve
  • Team working: it may be of benefit to form your own study groups and work together with others in the class in order to cover all the reading you have been set
  • Problem solving: you will be developing your skills in retrieving, analysing and evaluating information from a range of different sources
  • Social, cultural and global awareness: you should be developing your awareness of international issues and particularly ethical issues
  • Application of IT: you will be developing your word processing skills and should concentrate on presentation of your work, both in essays, but also the Powerpoints you create