Archaeology and Ancient History (VVC4): Selected Module Descriptions Year 2

Second Year 

Understanding Ancient Societies (20 credits)

This module examines the four core regions of our Ancient History programme: Egypt; the Near East; Greece; Rome. It uses literary and non-‘literary’ texts to understand ancient societies beyond the carefully constructed outputs of canonical elite writers. It will consider approaches to a range of writing types potentially including: epigraphy of all types; numismatics; seals; clay tablets; ostraca and papyri. It will look at the relatively un-mediated presentations of emperors, pharaohs, kings on monumental inscriptions, coins and political documents. It will look at state organisation through inscribed laws and organisational texts. It will consider non-elites through such texts as funerary stele, altars and devotional objects. It will look at everyday writing on material culture and in the street – vases, paintings and graffiti and in doing so will consider literacy and who could read these texts.

Material Culture and Heritage (20 credits)

Material culture provides us with insights into other ways of life, art, cognition, technology and the materiality of human existence - practically and in terms of symbolic expression and sensory experience. Material culture includes both the artefacts that represent the primary media for representing the past in museums, in addition to the non-portable structures and places, which both provide the key points of contact for public engagement with cultural heritage. Archaeology is at the cutting edge of material culture studies, heavily influencing – and being influenced by – new approaches in anthropology, art history, heritage conservation and museology. The module is divided into two sections. The first part explores the collection, curation, interpretation and presentation of material culture in museum displays, repositories and heritage sites. The second part of the module examines current approaches to the interpretation of material culture, focusing on social life in the material world, relationships between beliefs, knowledge, action and artefacts, and fundamental aspects of human existence such as technology, ritual, gender, age, cult, ethnicity and power.

CAHA Study Tour

The Study Tour is a 10-day guided tour to Greece, or Rome and Pompeii, or Romano-British sites (one of these in any given year). All travel will take place during the Easter vacation, and students will be accompanied by CAHA teaching staff on the guided tour. The School covers the cost of airfares, accommodation, and travel in the destination. Students are expected to cover their daily sustenance and travel outside the planned itinerary. The ability to travel will vary depending on staff availability and external factors (e.g. costs of travel, Covid-19 restrictions, FCO advice). If the study tour cannot go ahead, alternative arrangements will be provided for students. Students can complete an online-only virtual tour linked to the topic of the guided tour if they choose not to travel.

Example optional modules may include: 

  • Field Archaeology (20 credits)
  • Greek 1,2 and 3 (20+20+20 credits)
  • Latin 1,2 and 3 (20+20+20 credits)
  • Introduction to Ancient Egyptian A+B (20+20 credits)
  • Human Remains: From Forensics to Display (20 credits)
  • Imperial Rome (20 credits)
  • Classical Epic (20 credits)
  • Matrons and Monsters: Women in Rome and Byzantium (20 credits)
  • Future Skills Module (20 credits)

Please note these are examples of Futures Skills Modules that might be on offer:

Humanities in the Classroom

For this placement module you will be placed in schools to observe or shadow teachers in their own disciplines or in adjacent disciplines, and where possible and appropriate to deliver enrichment activities yourself or to act as mentor in those schools. You will also attend a series of lectures and workshops from visiting speakers focussing on pedagogy and curricula in their subjects, on careers and training for teachers, and on outreach and engagement activities at Universities. You will be supported within your department in small group seminars during which you will reflect on your own learning and plan for the assessment. Students can also explore education more widely, outside school settings, for example by researching educational facilities and resources in local museums, heritage sites or other cultural institutions and by participating in or observing outreach activities within their departments.

Media in Practice

This module gives you the chance to produce your own original content, learn skills and techniques that will improve what you create, and think rigorously about how media shapes our world. With lectures from a range of academic disciplines, the module asks big questions, like “How does news consumption affect voting behaviour?” and shares practical know-how, like how to conduct an interview or put in a Freedom of Information request. Through peer workshops, guided by academic leads, it also helps you to develop your own ideas and projects, from the first spark to the finished article. This module is designed to open media to all, so no prior experience is necessary.

Sustainable development Climate, Culture, Society and Policy

This is an interdisciplinary module that allows you to examine sustainability through the lens of several disciplines that fall broadly within arts, humanities and law. Examples of the topics you will examine are: sustainability and interdisciplinary research; the concept of sustainable development; climate change; sustainability and environmental justice. In examining these topics, students will also look into particular polices/initiatives to understand how sustainability is implemented in practice. The module will be delivered by academics from different disciplines which will allow you to engage in an interdisciplinary discussion with some of the mentioned topics. You will also have an opportunity to learn about sustainability initiatives at the UoB campus.

  • Professional Skills Module (20 credits)

This is a work placement module involving a minimum of 10 days in a work environment in the type of organisation or business sector to which students might apply following successful completion of their undergraduate programme. The module will provide students with an opportunity to develop transferable skills, including team working, problem solving and communication skills, as well as allowing the development of the ability to self-reflect on activity undertaken.

Further information on the Professional skills module