Ancient Civilisations: The Mediterranean and Near East

Module titleAncient Civilisations: The Mediterranean and Near East
Module codeARC1060
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Dr Robert Morkot (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will explain the framework of the ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean and Near East such as Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, the Phoenicians, Greece and Rome. The focus is on understanding archaeological remains and local cultures within broader interactions such as trade, colonial expansion and empires. Key issues include: major sites and finds; development of major units, such as the Roman Empire as part of a continuing developmental process, and the relationship between ‘historical’ and ‘archaeological’ sources. No prior knowledge is required. This module is a useful background for Ancient History and Archaeology levels 2 and 3.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will provide you with a general background to the main periods, themes and issues in the historical archaeology of the Mediterranean region from the beginning of the Bronze Age to the rise of Christianity and Islam. The geographical emphasis is southern Europe, north Africa and the Near East, although extending to Iran, north-east Africa and more northern Europe.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Assimilate a basic understanding of the chronology of archaeological periods and the main themes and issues in archaeology from the Bronze Age to the late Roman Empire
  • 2. Become familiar with some key archaeological sites and finds
  • 3. Understand how archaeology relates to the historical record

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Assimilate a basic understanding of the chronology of historic archaeological periods, and the main themes and issues within them, using introductory texts and key reading
  • 5. Develop knowledge of some key archaeological sites and finds

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Research a topic using a reading list and assimilate data from given sources
  • 7. Develop basic academic and library skills and learn how to reference in Harvard style
  • 8. Contribute to group work and class discussions
  • 9. Meet deadlines, manage own time

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction to the Near East and Mediterranean worlds
  • The Early Bronze Age: Sumer, early Egypt
  • The Middle Bronze Age: Babylon, Crete, Egypt, Kush
  • The Late Bronze Age: Egypt, the Hittites, Minoan Crete, Mycenae
  • Collapse of the Late Bronze Age empires and rise of Assyria
  • The Iron Age and the Persian Empire
  • The Greek and Hellenistic worlds
  • The Roman army and conquest
  • Understanding local cultures within one empire
  • Roman urbanism and Roman countryside
  • Religion in the Roman world
  • Christianisation and Islamisation: prelude to the medieval and modern worlds

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching2211 x 2 hour classes
Scheduled learning and teaching0.25Tutorial (15 minutes)
Guided independent study127.75Guided independent study, including reading, research and preparation for classes and assignments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussion in class15 minutes1-7Verbal feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Poster 1501500 words to include map, timeline, plan, information1-9Written feedback
Poster 2501500 words to include timeline relating to specific phase1-9Written feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Poster 1Essay (1500 words)1-9Referral/Deferral period
Poster 2Essay (1500 words)1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Cornell, T. and J. Matthews, 1982, Atlas of the Roman World. Oxford.
  • Levi, P., 1980, Atlas of the Greek World, Oxford.
  • Manley, B., 1996, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt. London.
  • Mee, C., Greek Archaeology. A Thematic Approach. 2011. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Morkot, R.G., 1996, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece. London.
  • Rhodes, P.J., 2008, A History of the Classical Greek World, 478-323 B.C., Oxford, Blackwell.
  • Roaf, M., 1990, Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia. Checkmark/Facts on File.
  • Snell, D.C., Ancient Near East: the basics. Routledge, 2013.
  • Shipley, G., 2002, The Greek World after Alexander 323-30 BC, London.
  • Van de Mieroop, M., 2003, A History of the Ancient Near East, c. 3000-323 BC. Oxford: Blackwell
  • Woolf, G. (ed.), The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Roman World. Cambridge.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Archaeology, Ancient History, Mediterranean, Near East, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Phoenicians

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


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Last revision date