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ARCH1057 The development of Archaeological and Anthropological Thought

Module Overview

As is well-known, archaeology has very strong connections with other disciplines. This module explores how the study of archaeology has developed over the centuries, both as a discipline in its own right and as a sister discipline within Anthropology. It also explores how archaeology has come to be the gateway between the humanities and the sciences. In particular, the module explores the relationship of archaeology to sister disciplines biological anthropology, social anthropology and linguistics, and how the four disciplines have co- evolved in the last 150 years. From the beginnings of archaeology in antiquarianism many centuries ago, through to its growth as a university discipline from the 19th century, to its current interdisciplinary approaches, we shall introduce some of the main themes that have informed archaeological and anthropological thought. We shall discus some of the philosophical and scientific influences on archaeology and anthropology (the Enlightenment, evolution, ethnology, science and cultural theory), relating these to broader historical trends in the development of archaeological thinking.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to introduce some of the main traditions of archaeological thought and the contribution of key archaeological and anthropological scholars to the development of archaeological theory.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The history of archaeology and anthropology as disciplines
  • The relationship of archaeology to anthropology
  • The principal trends in archaeological and anthropological thought
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Think critically and self-reflectively
  • Critically interpret readings
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Engage better with self-directed learning
  • Research and discover sources
  • Improve your essay writing and know how to structure an argument
  • Manage your time to meet assignment deadlines
  • Hold an online discussion of ideas in small groups
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe some of the intellectual frameworks that have informed archaeology and anthropology
  • Understand the contribution of some key scholars to archaeological and anthropological thought
  • Evaluate archaeological writings in their historical context

Syllabus

The module describes the history of archaeology and anthropology, and introduces some of the main themes that have informed archaeological and anthropological thought. It establishes a core of knowledge about the ways in which archaeologists and anthropologists have approached the study of other societies and cultures in the present and the past. The module describes the historical development of archaeology from antiquarianism to the present day. It will introduce some of the philosophical and scientific influences on archaeology and anthropology (antiquarianism, evolution, ethnology, science and cultural theory) relating these to broader historical trends in the development of archaeological thinking.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • lectures • seminars • in-class discussions Learning activities include • lectures • seminars and in-class discussions • background reading

TypeHours
Wider reading or practice40
Seminar2
Lecture22
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Completion of assessment task25
Revision25
Follow-up work12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Stiebing, W.H (1993). Uncovering the Past. 

Renfrew, C. & P. Bahn (2000). Archaeology: theories, methods and practice. 

Gamble, C. (2008). Archaeology: The Basics. 

Bahn, P. (ed.) (1996). Cambridge Illustrated History of Archaeology. 

Johnson, M. (1999). Archaeological Theory: An Introduction. 

Schnapp, A. (1996). The Discovery of the Past. 

Ingold, T. (ed.) (1994). Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology. 

Layton, Robert (1997). An Introduction to Theory in Anthropology. 

Trigger, B. (1990). A History of Archaeological Thought. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

The two seminar discussions are designed to encourage you to prepare and contribute to small-group discussions. You are required to attend and participate in seminars, and non-attendance/non-participation is likely to lead to reduced marks in subsequent assessments.

Formative

Seminar

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Critical review  (1500 words) 50%
Essay  (1500 words) 50%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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