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CL1004 Sources and Methods for Ancient History and Archaeology

Sources and Evidence

Module Organisers: Dr. Hazel Dodge, Dr. Shane Wallace
Duration: All year
Contact Hours: 22 lectures and 9 seminars
Weighting: 10 ECTS
Assessment: 1 x 3 hour examination at the end of the year; two written assignments.

Overview and Aims:

How do archaeologists recover, record and interpret material culture? What skills do historians employ when reading and analysing Greek and Roman texts? This module provides an introduction to the primary sources and methodologies employed by historians and archaeologists. It introduces the practical, analytical and critical skills required to assess both textual sources and material remains. It explores the nature and reliability of the different types of evidence, and challenges students to think about and assess how modern scholars approach the study of the ancient world. The small group seminars for this module focus on developing skills with the primary sources - thinking about who writes history and why, working with artefacts such as coins, inscriptions and pottery, or debating archaeological ethics.

Introductory Reading

Key text for archaeology part of the module:

  • Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn, 2012 Archaeology. Theories, Methods and Practice. London. (earlier editions are also acceptable).

Other useful books

  • Kevin Greene, 2002. Archaeology: An Introduction . London. (5th edition; there are also earlier editions).
  • P. Bahn (ed), 1999. Cambridge illustrated history of archaeology . Cambridge.
  • Matthew Johnson, 2010. Archaeological Theory: An Introduction. London.

Key texts for the history part of the module:

  • Pitcher, L., Writing Ancient History (London, 2009)

Other useful books

  • Crawford, M. (ed.), Sources for Ancient History (Cambridge, 1983)
  • Finley, M., The Use and Abuse of History (London, 1975)
  • Hedrick, C.W., Jnr., Ancient History: Monuments and Documents (Malden/Oxford, 2006)
  • Marincola, J., (ed.), A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography (Malden/Oxford, 2007)
  • Mellor, R., The Roman Historians (London, 1999)
  • Pelling, C., Literary Texts and the Greek Historian (London, 2000)
  • Potter, D.S., Literary Texts and the Roman Historian (London, 1999)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of basic terminology and its definitions
  • Understanding of the main practical and intellectual developments in the study of history and archaeology
  • Understanding of the purposes and methods of history writing in the ancient world
  • Knowledge of the different categories and types of evidence available and how it survives
  • Appreciation of the value and limitations of different types of evidence
  • Ability to analyse the major issues
  • Ability to communicate the above in verbal and written form

Last updated 8 September 2017