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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Conceptualising the Neolithic (PGHC11064)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe period from the mid-6th to mid-4th millennium BC in Central and North-Western Europe witnessed major social and economic changes. The establishment of cereal cultivation and animal husbandry were accompanied by profound social and ideological transformations of human societies. This course examines the evidence pertinent to this important evolutionary change in European prehistory and investigates the extensive cultural patterns which transcend modern cultural boundaries, and which created conditions for all subsequent cultural developments in Europe.
Course description This course introduces students to the archaeology of Neolithic Europe, from the end of the Mesolithic and the beginning of food production (6th millennium BC) to the establishment of metalwork (Copper and Early Bronze Age, 3nd millennium BC). The aim of the course is to provide foundations in the major themes in the development and diversity of Neolithic societies and cultures in Europe, as well as an introduction to some of the key sites and archaeological remains that document these changes. Emphasis will be given to developing an understanding of the profound social and ideological transformations of human societies during the European Neolithic through an examination of key topics such as the establishment of new technologies, dwelling practices, burial customs, worldviews and the monumentalisation of the landscape. Case studies will focus on the Balkans, Central and Western Europe, Mediterranean Europe, Scandinavia and the British Isles.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Conceptualising the Neolithic (ARCA10020)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning with the principal themes in the study of the Neolithic in Europe and the nature of changing theoretical approaches which, from the mid-19th century to the present, have underpinned the archaeological study of the Neolithic in Europe;
  2. Analyse and reflect critically upon archaeological evidence and relevant scholarship pertaining to the introduction and subsequent development of farming communities (settlement patterns, economy, trade and exchange);
  3. Develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course;
  4. Demonstrate originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy.
Reading List
Barker, G. 2009. The agricultural revolution in prehistory: why did foragers become farmers? Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cochrane, A. and Jones, A. (eds) 2012. Visualising the Neolithic. Oxford: Oxbow.

Hofmann, D. and Smith, J. (eds) 2013. Tracking the Neolithic house in Europe. New York: Springer.

Marciniak A. 2005. Placing animals in the Neolithic: social zooarchaeology of prehistoric farming communities. London: University College London.

Midgley, M. S. 2008, The Megaliths of Northern Europe, Routledge, London.

P├ętrequin, P. et al. 2008. Neolithic Alpine axeheads, from the Continent to Great Britain, the Isle of Man and Ireland. Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 40: 261-279.

Price, T. D. (ed.), 2000. Europe's first farmers. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Robb, J. and Farr, R.H. 2005. Substances in motion: Neolithic Mediterranean 'trade'. In The Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory, edited by E. Blake and A.B. Knapp, pp. 24-45. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Smith, M. and M. Brickley. 2009. People of the long barrows: life, death and burial in the earlier Neolithic. Stroud, The History Press.

Vander Linden, M. 2007. What linked the Bell Beakers in third millennium BC Europe? Antiquity 81(312): 343-352.

Whittle, A., 1996. Europe in the Neolithic. The Creation of New Worlds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Whittle, A. and Cummings, V. (eds) 2007. Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe. (Proceedings of the British Academy 144). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Guillaume Robin
Tel: (0131 6)50 9963
Course secretaryMiss Danielle Jeffery
Tel: (0131 6)50 7128
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