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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Bronze Age Civilisations of the Near East and Greece (ARCA10047)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course examines the interaction of state-level, palace-based Eastern Mediterranean societies during the Late Bronze Age by looking at diplomatic correspondence, the distribution of goods, the sharing of concepts and ideas or the diffusion of novel technologies. The background, nature and effects of this interaction are considered for a number of states between Egypt and the Aegean, as well as the reasons behind the eventual collapse of this system.
Course description This course examines the motivation and practicalities behind the intensive interaction between state-level societies in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age. Geographically, the focus will range from Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia to the mainland Aegean and Crete. The course considers the different manifestations of palace-centred urban societies in this area which developed along different trajectories and with various degrees of contact among each other. By the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1400-1200 BC), in all of these societies, access to exotic information, goods, iconography and sometimes even human beings and their skills played an important role in establishment and legitimation of social elites.

The evidence considered stems primarily from the excavation of settlement sites and ship wrecks, monumental artwork, iconography, distribution of artefacts and textual sources such as diplomatic correspondence. Questions and debates about state formation, economical organisation, modes of interaction and trade, and different forms of governance, ideology and religion are of particular importance, as well as the influence of technological innovations and geographical factors.

This course is meant to be of interest for students who wish to learn more about early Near Eastern and Mediterranean civilisations, the development and interaction of urban, state-level societies in the Old World, and their material and textual legacy. Weekly topics include: Politics and policy in the exploration of the Eastern Mediterranean; problems at the interface between textual information and the archaeological record, diplomacy and trade in the Ancient Near East, Egypt and the Amarna Letters, Minoan-style frescoes in the Eastern Mediterranean, the archaeology of the Levantine city-states, the palatial period on Minoan Crete, the Greek mainland, Western Anatolia between Mycenaean and Hittite interests, the Hittite Empire, and the collapse of the Late Bronze Age palace societies.

The course consists of weekly two-hour class meetings with lectures, presentations and group discussions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Bronze Age Civilisations of the Near East and Greece (PGHC11239)
Other requirements Pre-requisites: Archaeology 2A and 2B or Honours entry to degrees in Classics, or equivalent.
Additional Costs None.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Archaeology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  17
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
1,600 word Reading Portfolio (20%)
1,000 word Short Essay (20%)
2,500 word Long Essay (60%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a command of the body of knowledge considered in the course
  2. Read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship
  3. Understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material
  4. Develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers
Reading List
Bachhuber, C. 2006. Aegean interest in the Uluburun ship. American Journal of Archaeology 110: 345-363.

Broodbank, C. 2013. The making of the Middle Sea. A history of the Mediterranean from the beginning to the emergence of the classical world. London: Thames & Hudson.

Feldman, M. H. 2006. Diplomacy by design: luxury arts and an "international style" in the ancient Near East, 1400-1200 BCE. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.

Liverani, M. 1979. ''Irrational" Elements in the Amarna Trade. In: Three Amarna Essays. Monographs on the Ancient Near East I.5: 21-33. Malibu: Undena.

Liverani, M. 2001. International relations in the ancient Near East, 1600-1100 BC. Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave.

Liverani, M. 2013. The Ancient Near East. History, Society and Economy. London & New York: Routledge.

Potts, D.T. (ed.) 2012. A companion to the archaeology of the ancient Near East Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Van De Mieroop, M. 2007. The eastern Mediterranean in the age of Ramesses II. Oxford: Blackwell.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsBronze Age Civ
Course organiserDr Ulf-Dietrich Schoop
Tel: (0131 6)50 2503
Course secretaryMiss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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