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

Postgraduate Course: The Origins of Agriculture: Reconsidering the Neolithic (online) (PGHC11511)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course provides an introduction to the Neolithic, a period which witnesses fundamental economic, social, and ritual transformations in the human past, as people transitioned from mobile hunter-gatherers to settled farmers. The course explores key themes in the archaeology of the Neolithic drawn from case studies across the Near East and Europe.
Course description This course will investigate the key thematic, regional, and chronological dimensions of the Neolithic. Through looking across multiple regions, the real benefit of the diversity of the course is clear in that expressions of the 'Neolithic' are vastly different, more or less prevalent, intra- as well as inter-regionally. Regional studies that will be reflected through this course, reflect the myriad of differing ways in which communities have, or have not, taken up multiple aspects of what was once described as the 'Neolithic package', and will tackle the reasons for this. What has been described as Neolithisation is a very inconsistent phenomenon in so far as the archaeological record is concerned, if a phenomena at all. The geographical diversity of the course - through modern Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa, highlights the transition to more highly settled communities, while allowing students to investigate reasons for the highly variably regional take up of new ways of life.

The subject will be explored through a mixture of screencasts and discussion seminars. Screencasts will cover major themes, with focus on the key aspects of the Neolithic and critical assessment of how this is evidenced and investigated from the archaeological record. These insights will be expanded through in-depth discussions in seminars to explore key debates. These seminars will address key conceptual and evidential challenges to understanding the Neolithic.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate critical understanding of the issues surrounding the investigation and interpretation of the Neolithic.
  2. Demonstrate through discussions, seminars and coursework that a detailed, up to date knowledge of the subject matter of the course has been gained and is understood.
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with the ability to locate sources relating to Neolithic research.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to work and critically analyse and contextualise archaeological data to supports arguments and interpretations within coursework.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to interact in a balanced way with contemporaries when discussing evidence and interpretations within seminar situations.
Reading List
Barker G 2006, The agricultural revolution in prehistory: why did foragers become farmers? Oxford; Oxford University Press.

Bar-Yosef O and Price TD (eds.) The origins of agriculture: new data, new ideas. Current Anthropology 52 (Special Suppl 4).

Bendrey R, Richardson A, Elliott S and Whitlam J (eds.) 2014, Environmental Archaeologies of Neolithisation: Europe. Environmental Archaeology 19 (Issue 3).

Bickle P, Chan B, Czerniak L, Pyzel J and Tsoraki C (eds.) 2016, Topical Issue on Understanding Diversity in Neolithic Houses and Households. Open Archaeology 2 (Issue 1).

Bocquet-Appel J-P and Bar-Yosef O (eds) 2008, The Neolithic demographic transition and its consequences. New York; Springer.

Bradley R 2005, Ritual and domestic life in prehistoric Europe. London; Routledge.

Fowler C, Harding J and Hofmann D (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Neolithic Europe. Oxford; Oxford University Press.

Hofmann D and Smyth J (eds.) 2016, Tracking the Neolithic House in Europe - Sedentism, Architecture and Practice. New York; Springer.

Lucarini G 2016, The Neolithic from the Sahara to the southern Mediterranean coast: A review of the most recent research. Quaternary International 410 (Part A).

Shennan S 2018, The first farmers of Europe: An evolutionary perspective. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.

Shirai N 2010, The Archaeology of the First Farmer Herders in Egypt: new insights into the Fayum Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic. Leiden: Leiden University Press.

Thomas J 1999, Understanding the Neolithic. London; Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Gather and critically assess relevant information.
- Develop a reasoned argument, support it with relevant evidence, and communicate it appropriately and persuasively.
- Fine tune an understanding of the methods and skills involved in academic research.
- Develop the skills to examine and evaluate archaeological evidence.
- Gain experience and enhanced ability to make a critical review of discussion articles.
- Gain the skills to extract key points from book chapters/articles.
- Improving ability to conduct independent research using largely electronic sources, and investigate additional online sources.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Robin Bendrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 9110
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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