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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Classical Art/Classical Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Petra and the Nabataeans: Classicism in the Desert (CACA10051)

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
SummaryThis course aims to introduce students to the Nabataeans and their key city of Petra, situated in modern-day Jordan. The Nabataean kingdom remained independent until its annexation by the Romans in AD 106, yet Hellenistic and Roman influences shaped its unique cultural identity prior to this time. We will use a wide range of sources -- archaeological, artistic, literary and epigraphic -- to shed light on the elusive society and customs of the Nabataeans and to develop understanding of how eastern and western cultural forces interacted.
Course description Topics covered in this course will include the religious and funerary traditions, the role of women in Nabataean society, the royal family and their relations with Herod and the Romans, Nabataean engineering and construction techniques, the artistic tradition, and Petra in Byzantine and later times.

We will investigate how the Nabataean kingdom emerged in the wider context of the Greco-Roman world and how the Nabataeans developed a unique cultural identity, utilising traditions from both the east and west. We will also explore how Nabataean culture impacted the later Islamic world and the relationship between the archaeological site of Petra and its modern Bedouin inhabitants. Students will be able to synthesise and analyse the ancient evidence, and modern scholarship, and will work independently to develop research skills. The comprehension of the cultural interaction of this region is particularly relevant to increasing understanding between the West and the Middle East today.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements The course is available to all students who have progressed to Honours.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics, Ancient History or Classical Archaeology at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  28
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial 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 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
3,000 word research essay (50%)

Two-hour examination (50%)
Feedback Students will receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a sound knowledge of a wide range of archaeological and textual material relating to the Nabataean kingdom and its principal city of Petra.
  2. Recognise and comment on how art and architecture were used in the formation of a Nabataean cultural identity and the role Greco-Roman culture played in this.
  3. Assess the validity or usefulness of a range of viewpoints and critical approaches.
  4. Analyse different types of primary evidence.
  5. Express their opinions and construct logical arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course.
Reading List
Healey, J.F. (1993), The Nabataean Tomb Inscriptions of Mada'in Salih, Oxford.

Healey, J.F. (2001), The Religion of the Nabataeans: a conspectus, Leiden.

Markoe, G. (2003), ed, Petra Rediscovered, London.

McKenzie, J. (1990), The Architecture of Petra, Oxford.

Mouton, M. and Schmid, S. (2013), eds, Men on the Rocks: The Formation of Nabataean Petra. Berlin.

Nehmé, L. (2012), Pétra, Atlas archéologique et épigraphique: Fascicule 1: de Bab as-Siq au Wadi al-Farasah. Paris.

Nehmé, L. and L. Wadeson (2012), eds, The Nabataeans in Focus: Current Archaeological Research at Petra. Supplement to the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 42, Oxford.

Politis, K. D. (2007), ed., The World of the Nabataeans: Vol. 2, Stuttgart.

Schmid, S.G. (2001), 'The Nabataeans: travellers between lifestyles', in B. MacDonald, R. Adams and P. Bienkowski (eds), The Archaeology of Jordan, Sheffield, 367-426.

Wadeson, L. (2013), 'Petra: behind the monumental facades', Current World Archaeology 57.1, 18-24.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Analyse, assimilate and deploy critically a range of secondary literature relevant and essential to the student's individual research subject.

Provide clear written and oral analyses based on historical and archaeological information.

Process and critically assess information derived from historical and archaeological research, utilising theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills specific to the subject area.

Construct and pursue a coherent argument driven by analysis of the primary source material.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Lucy Wadeson
Course secretaryMiss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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