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Unit information: Advanced Issues in Archaeology and Anthropology in 2015/16

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Unit name Advanced Issues in Archaeology and Anthropology
Unit code ARCH35013
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Heyd
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to introduce third year students to advanced issues in Archaeology and Anthropology, with particular emphasis on illustrating how the two disciplines may be combined. The course is both historical, in that it introduces the way that the two disciplines have pursued parallel but often intersecting paths over the last century, and also thematic, in that it demonstrates the way that these themes may be considered through specific examples, such as the study of gender; material culture; heritage and nationalism; kinship and genetics; societal organisation and the emergence of states.


  • To introduce students to the way that anthropology (both social and biological), and archaeology have diverged but also often worked together as academic disciplines.
  • To encourage an awareness of the way key problems such as the relationship between material culture and society; social relations and kinship; the interaction between the present and the past can be informed by drawing upon the resources of both archaeology and anthropology.
  • To encourage students to consider and devise their own syncretic approach toward bringing the disciplines together.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to:

1) Discuss the recent history of both archaeology and anthropology, and areas where they may overlap.

2) Identify key thinkers and a number of cases which bring the disciplines together.

3) Analyse current trends in data collection and analysis (including those dependant upon technological advancement), and the implications that these recent developments may have for the way that the disciplines may come together.

4)Conceptualise and articulate these issues with reference to the current, and possible future practise of the discipline.

Teaching Information

Weekly 2hr session of lecture and discussion.

Assessment Information

One 3000 word essay (50%). Assesses ILOs 1-4

One 2 hour written examination (50%). Assesses ILOs 3 and 4.

Reading and References

  • Antiquity (1998) On Clarke's 'Archaeology: the loss of innocence' (1973) 25 years after Antiquity 72, Issue 277.
  • Bentley, R. A. (2013). Mobility and the diversity of Early Neolithic lives. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, in press.
  • Bentley, R. A. and Maschner, H. D. G. (2007) Complexity theory. In (R.A Bentley et al., eds) Handbook of Archaeological Theories: 245-268. AltaMira Press.
  • Fortunato, L. and Jordan, F. (2010). Your place or mine? Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society 365:3913-3922.
  • Hayden, B. (1996). Feasting in prehistoric and traditional societies. In (P. Wiessner and W. Schiefenhovel, eds) Food and the Status Quest, pp.127-147. Berghahn.
  • Hodos, T. (2009). Colonial Engagements in the Global Mediterranean Iron Age. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 19.2: 221-241.

Monroe, J. C (2011). Urbanisation on West Africa's Slave Coast. American Scientist 99: 400-409.