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

Postgraduate Course: Prehistory of Egypt: major steps for humankind millennia before the pyramids (PGHC11536)

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
SummaryPrehistory is the lesser-known heritage of Egypt, but a heritage that represents millennia of global achievements of human groups. The Nile Valley is central to our understanding of these major steps, from the movement of human groups out of Africa, to the settlement of the first groups practising new lifeways integrating domesticated species and cultivated cereals. Debates at the cutting edge of research are central to this course, including the impact of environmental change on global and local scales, all of which seek to examine key elements within the human story, from the Middle Palaeolithic until the rise of the state in Egypt. The course will actively engage with groups living in regions surrounding the Nile Valley, including Libya and Nubia.
Course description The movement of human groups through the Nile Valley corridor during periods of greening and aridification in the Sahara, to the first farmers, and the emergence of the world's first nation state, this course addresses major steps in human history that occurred in, and around, the Egyptian Nile Valley and Delta. The course will introduce students to current and past research themes within Egyptian prehistory, focussing predominantly on the shift to increasingly settled society, adoption of domesticated species, and increasing social hierarchy. Research-driven, the themes will address research questions including the timing and origin of the uptake of new 'Neolithic' lifeways, and the dynamics behind the growth of social complexity, including exchanges with other regions, and environmental change.

Students who take this course will be investigating the lesser-known heritage of Egypt through a series of key current research themes. Students will become familiar with archaeological sites through the Nile Valley and Delta, including the surrounding regions of the Eastern and Western Deserts, the Sudan, and Sinai and Levant. Within their independent study time, as well as recorded lectures and live seminars, students will investigate the archaeological data that characterise sites of specific chronological periods, and types of subsistence, and able to interpret the presence of specific mobile and fixed evidence within the region being considered. Discussion of themes between the cohort will be maintained through the week through a non-assessed discussion forum.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Prehistory of Egypt: major steps for humankind millennia before the pyramids (online) (PGHC11535)
Other requirements None
Additional Costs The students may wish to purchase publications, e.g. excavation monographs, and other published volumes that are not available online. This might be necessary if they wish to pursue a particular site/theme for the coursework essay.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesFor Classics
Visiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics, History or Archaeology (at least 1 of which should be in Classical Art and 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.

For Archaeology
Visiting 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.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of the relevance of the prehistory of the Nile Valley within global research.
  2. Show detailed knowledge of, and ability to evaluate,the material archaeological evidence left by mobile and settled communities as presented through the course.
  3. Engage with sources from outsidethe Egyptian Nile Valley to understand the multiple challenges and opportunities behind population movement and the adoption of new technologies and lifeways.
  4. Show an understanding of the challenges of protecting fragile prehistoric heritage in the modern world, and ways to bring this share human history to wider public audiences.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to reflect critically on the current debates relating to dynamics behind social change prior to Egypt becoming a centralised nation state.
Reading List
Friedman, R., Van Neer, W., De Cupere, B. and Droux, X.2017. The elite predynastic cemetery at Hierakonpolis HK6: 2011-2015 progress report. In Midant-Reynes, B.and Tristant, Y.(eds), Egypt at its origins 5: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference "Origin of the state. Predynastic and early Dynastic Egypt", Cairo, 13th-18th April 2014,231-289. Leuven: Peeters.

Gatto, M. C. 2019. The later prehistory of Nubia in its interregional setting. In Raue, D. (ed.), Handbook of ancient Nubia1, 259-291.Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter.

Hassan, F.A. 1988. The Predynastic of Egypt. Journal of World Prehistory 2, 135-185.

Hendrickx, S.2006. Predynastic -early Dynastic chronology. In Hornung, E., Krauss, R. and Warburton, D.A.(eds), Ancient Egyptian chronology, 55-93. Leiden; Boston: Brill. EBOOK

Köhler, E.C. 2017. The development of social complexity in early Egypt: a view from the perspective of the settlements and material culture of the Nile Valley. Ägypten und Levante27, 335-356.

Lucarini G. 2016, The Neolithic from the Sahara to the southern Mediterranean coast: A review of the most recent research. Quaternary International410(Part A).

Maczynska, A. (ed). 2014. The Nile Delta as a centre of cultural interactions with Upper Egypt and the Southern Levant in 4th millennium BC, Studies in African Archaeology, vol. 13. Poznan: Poznan Archaeological Museum. F

Shirai, N. 2010.The archaeology of the first farmer-herders in Egypt. New Insights in the Fayum Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic. Leiden: Leiden University Press

Streit, K. 2020. The Ancient Near East in Transregional Perspective: Material Culture and Exchange between Mesopotamia, the Levant and Lower Egypt from 5800 to 5200 cal BC. Archaeology of Egypt, Sudan and the Levant (AESL) Band 2.

Vermeersch, P.M.2015.Nile Behaviour and Late Palaeolithic humans in Upper Egypt during the Late Pleistocene. Quaternary Science Reviews 130,155-167.

Wetering, J.F.L. van and Tassie, G.J. Nubt during the Fourth Millennium BC. In Stevenson, A. and van Wetering, J.F.L. (eds) The Many Histories of Naqada: Archaeology and Heritage in an Upper Egyptian Region. London: GHP

Tassie, G.J. 2014. Prehistoric Egypt. London: GHP.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Demonstrate the ability to assess the value of evidence from given regions within wider, global contexts.
2. Show detailed knowledge of, and ability to evaluate, material archaeological evidence relevant to research questions.
3. Engage with sources from multiple geographical areas to consider both challenges and opportunities as possible dynamics for change.
4. Show an understanding of the challenges of protecting fragile heritage in the modern world, and ways to bring this shared human history to wider public audiences.
5. Demonstrate the ability to reflect critically on current debates in research.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Joanne Rowland
Tel: (0131 6)51 1925
Course secretary
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