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AAM5740 - Reading the Ancient Past

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Colin Hope and Gillian Bowen


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


The unit focuses upon the technicalities involved in the interpretation and assessment of archaeological and textual data. Through the detailed examination of specific problems relating to Egypt, it will study the types of material which are available for use, and their relative reliability in respect of the question posed. The unit will also consider changing theories relating to the interpretation of cultural data.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. An ability to use various types of data, such as textual, archaeological and pictorial, in relation to specific problems.
  2. An ability to appraise critically the reliability of the source material.
  3. The ability to identify and appraise the various interpretations which have been placed upon data by scholars at different times.
  4. An awareness of the impact of contemporary ideology and religious beliefs upon the interpretation of the ancient past from the nineteenth century to the present day.
  5. A breadth of understanding of how aspects of the ancient past may be studied and the limitations of the available data.
  6. The ability to present a detailed analytical discussion which draws upon a wide variety of source material.
  7. A comprehensive understanding of the variety of source materials available and a greater degree of source-critical ability.


Research essay (3500 words): 40%
Research essay (3500 words): 40%
Seminar presentation (2000 words): 20%

Contact hours

3 hours (1 x 3 hour seminar) per week