The study of the past is inherently theory laden and always political. We are subject to biases from our own social and cultural perspectives, which can influence how we view and react to archaeological interpretations and practice. This module sets the scene for developing essential critical analytical skills by challenging you to think about how our philosophies and experiences shape the questions we ask of the past. Everyone takes something meaningful from this module - and many students have come back in later years of their degree and affirmed they could not possibly have predicted the huge value of the concepts and ideas they learned in this first year module.
|Semester 2 2024-25
This module aims:
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
The module will introduce students to a range of theoretical debates and, through reading a combination of textbooks and original papers, students are exposed to the emphases, terminology and assumptions behind the various theoretical movements as applied to archaeology. Analysis of case studies, drawn from a range of regions around the world, will be utilised to help explain the development and application of various theoretical approaches. Case studies will be used to illustrate the impact of theoretical developments on archaeological practice and the subsequent implications this had for the development of the discipline both regionally and world wide.
The course will be broadly structured by the big themes that dominate archaeological discourse and will demonstrate the importance of theory to every aspect of our understanding of the past, our disciplinary practice and the way we disseminate the past to our audiences. We will shine a light on the political implications of the theoretical context of our research, and consider the paradox that the theory we use and the knowledge we create on one hand embodies implicit and inherent power structures and hierarchies, which we seek to dismantle in on the other hand with the very same theory.
|% of module mark
|% of module mark
Formative: written feedback from module leaders
Summative: written feedback within the University's turnaround policy
Johnson, Matthew (1999) Archaeological Theory : An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
Harris, Oliver J. T, and Cipolla, Craig N. (2017) Archaeological Theory in the New Millennium. 1st ed. London: Routledge.
Trigger, Bruce G. (2006) A History of Archaeological Thought. West Nyack: Cambridge UP.