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Unit information: The Mediterranean Past in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Mediterranean Past
Unit code ARCH20055
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Hodos
Open unit status Not open




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


The Mediterranean is often perceived as a nexus that unites three continents. In fact, this region is made up of diverse landscapes, climates, and, throughout its history, cultural groups who were often in competition with one another while also mutually dependent. This unit explores the connections between the various peoples, cultures and regions of the Mediterranean from c.3500-330 BCE. It considers similarities, differences and tensions with regard to geography, ecology, chronology, state organisation, social and religious practices.


  1. To introduce students to the geography and ecology of the wider Mediterranean region.
  2. To develop an understanding of the history and cultural diversities of Mediterranean populations between c.3500-500 BCE.
  3. To foster appreciation of the methods by which we derive knowledge about past Mediterranean civilisations and how our interpretations evolve.
  4. To recognise the symbiosis between history and archaeology in this region.
  5. To encourage oral and written presentation skills.
  6. To develop the skills of synthesis of a wide body of material and application to case studies

Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Recognise geographical and ecological features and drivers within the Mediterranean region.
  2. Discuss key issues with regard to the history and cultural diversities of Mediterranean populations between c.3500-500 BCE.
  3. Analyse critically the methods by which we derive knowledge about past Mediterranean civilisations and interpretational evolutions.
  4. Utilise oral, written, synthesis, and time management skills.

Teaching details

12 hours of lectures

1 hour exam revision session

10 hours of seminars

7 hours of a field trip

3 hours of presentation for formative assessment

Assessment Details

One essay of 2500 words (50%). Assesses ILOs 2-4.

One two-hour final exam (50%). Assesses ILOs 1-4.

One 10-minute formative presentation: Assesses ILOs 2-4.

Reading and References

Abulafia, D. 2011. The Great Sea. A human history of the Mediterranean. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Blake, E. and A.B. Knapp, eds. 2005. The Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory. Oxford: Blackwell.

Braudel, F. 1973 (English translation). The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. London: Collins.

Broodbank, C. The Making of the Middle Sea: a history of the Mediterranean from the beginning to the emergence of the Classical world. London: Thames and Hudson.

Horden, P. and N. Purcell. 2000. The Corrupting Sea: a study of Mediterranean history. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

Kemp, B.J. 1989; 2005. Ancient Egypt: anatomy of a civilization. London: Routledge.

Walsh, K. 2013. The Archaeology of Mediterranean Landscapes: human-environment interaction from the Neolithic to the Roman Period. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.