ATS4256 - Archaeology of state formation - 2018

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Centre for Ancient Cultures

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Ashten Warfe


Dr Ashten Warfe

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


This unit examines the archaeological methods and theory used to study the formation of ancient states. Taking Egypt as the example, it explores developments in religion, ideology and social structure over the period c. 4400-3000 BCE. The transition to statehood forms a critical stage in human history, adjusting the identity and arrangement of communities as they come together politically and geographically. The unit explores archaeological approaches that investigate the build-up of this process in a pre-literate context through an examination of ancient symbolism, iconography, material culture, environmental change and landscape use.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Acquire an understanding of current archaeological methods and theories used in studying state formation.
  2. Know the archaeological record of Predynastic Egypt.
  3. Be aware of the impact of environmental change in social and cultural development.
  4. Interpret archaeological data in the light of cultural tradition reflected in later literary material.
  5. Understand current theories that explore the emergence of complex society in the Near East and how the Egyptian evidence might be interpreted in light of these theories.
  6. Be able to present a sustained argument drawing upon a variety of data.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study