Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain

Module leader: Mark Edmonds

Introduction

This module follows a sequence from the end of the Mesolithic to the end of the Bronze Age. It tackles evidence from the margins of Western Europe, specifically Britain (and to a lesser extent Ireland), and will explore the changing character of society, and of material experience, between the later fifth and later second millennia BC. Using the evidence of landscape, architecture and artefacts, the course will track important changes in the material conditions of existence, including the protracted uptake of domesticates, the appearance of monuments and technological transformations such as the appearance of metalworking. It will also explore changes in the relationship between the living and the dead, the significance of monuments and the role of material culture in sustaining concepts of identity and authority at a variety of social scales.

Aims

  • To enable students to critically examine the archaeological data from Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in Britain
  • To familiarise students with a key research area in later Prehistoric archaeology.
  • To develop skills and understanding in dealing with evidence and communicating understanding to others

Learning outcomes

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

  • demonstrate a broad and comparative knowledge of the archaeology of the Neolithic and Bronze Age
  • demonstrate a critical awareness of how research on later Prehistory has been historically constructed
  • critically discuss and assess the key theories, methods and debates, and their limitations
  • communicate an in-depth, logical and structured argument, supported by archaeological evidence
  • Evaluate and contextualise different types of archaeological source material
  • Critically appraise other people’s studies and produce logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence

Employability

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