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

Postgraduate Course: Conflict Archaeology and the Human Past (Online) (PGHC11558)

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
SummaryConflict archaeology is an emerging field of study that is attracting interest from scholars and the general public alike. This course provides a platform for studying conflict in a wide chronological and interdisciplinary framework, ranging from prehistory to modern times, and from the study of skeletal remains to the consideration of documentary sources and landscapes of conflict in Europe and beyond. It will invite students to think about conflict from a diversity of perspectives, including those actively engaged in as well as those inadvertently affected by violent interactions and their aftermath.
Course description The course engages with the emergence of, reasons for and nature and consequences of conflict and violence within a broad interdisciplinary framework, including the study of skeletal remains, documentary sources, artefactual evidence and landscapes of conflict. The chronological framework of this course spans all of the human past, from early prehistory up to modern times.

Through a mixture of seminars, in-class discussions, and associated assessments (i.e. poster and essay), students will investigate the materiality and meanings of violence and consider the latest research and practices within the discipline. Delivery of the course includes leading figures in the field and researchers working in academic as well as commercial environments. Students will critically engage with different types of evidence (skeletal, artefactual, landscape, textual), explore key questions and controversies (e.g. the origins of war) and assess different methodologies and theoretical models and communicated effectively in different formats (essay, poster).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Here comes the war: conflict archaeology and the human past (ARCA10083) OR Conflict archaeology: materialities of violence (PGHC11448)
Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Articulate and apply knowledge of analytical methods in conflict archaeology
  2. Show critical understanding of the issues surrounding the investigation, interpretation and display of conflict in the past
  3. Assess conflict-related evidence and data and integrate it into wider archaeological analysis
  4. Critically reflect on the diversity of conflict experiences and evidence across space and times
Reading List
Dwyer, P. & Micale, M. (eds.) 2021. The Darker Angels of Our Nature : Refuting the Pinker Theory of History and Violence. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Fagan, G.G., Fibiger, L., Hudson, M. & Trundle, M. (eds.) 2020. The Cambridge World History of Violence: Volume 1, The Prehistoric and Ancient Worlds.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fernández-Götz, M. & Roymans, N. (eds.) 2018. Conflict Archaeology: Materialities of Collective Violence in Late Prehistoric and Early Historic Europe. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Keeley, L. H. 1996. War before civilization: The myth of the peaceful savage. New York: Oxford University Press.

Knüsel, C. & Smith, M. (eds.) 2014. The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict. Abingdon: Routledge.

Micale, M.S. 2018. What Pinker Leaves Out. Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 44(1), 128-139.

Redfern, R. & Fibiger, L. 2018. Bioarchaeological evidence for prehistoric violence: Use and misuse in the popular media. In J. Buikstra (ed.) Bioarchaeologists speak out. Deep time perspectives on contemporary issues, 59-77. Cham: Springer.

Saunders, N. 2012. Beyond the Dead Horizon: Studies in Modern Conflict Archaeology. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Scott, D., Babits, L.E. & Haecker, C. (eds.) 2006. Fields of Conflict: Battlefield Archaeology from the Roman Empire to the Korean War. Praeger.

Scott, D. 2017. Shot and Shell Tell the Tale (Munro Lecture given at the University of Edinburgh). Available at
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills a) Ability to actively engage with diverse sources of evidence
b) Ability to produce logical and structured evidence-based hypotheses and arguments
c) Ability to effectively communicate in a variety of formats (written, verbal, visual)
d) Capacity for independent study and research
e) Ability to identify and critically engage with changing research themes and trends
f) Understanding of the social, cultural and contextual diversity of human (conflict) experience
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Linda Fibiger
Tel: (0131 6)50 2379
Course secretaryMr George Bottrell-Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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