BA Art History and History / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
The Making of the Mediterranean

Course unit fact file
Unit code CAHE10132
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course explores those ancient societies that inhabited the region of the Mediterranean and adjacent regions from prehistory to the civilisations of the Greek and Roman world. Focusing on key sites, major socio-economic developments and an analysis of scholarly narratives, the course follows a chronological sequence from the very earliest appearance of humans in the Palaeolithic to the emergence of urban societies, the demise of the colourful Mycenaean civilization at the end of the Bronze Age to the emergence of Greek city states, and the period of expansion under Alexander the Great and his Hellenistic successors before concluding with a look at Roman urban and domestic life.

In addition, this course introduces some of the general concepts and topics that have structured archaeological thought in recent years but particularly highlights key debates and questions relevant in this region’s archaeology.


  • To familiarise students with diverse approaches, concepts and intellectual frameworks that have been brought to bear upon the Mediterranean and adjacent territories as a unit of study.
  • To gain a solid understanding of the main developments in the prehistory and history of the Mediterranean and adjacent areas.
  • To explore key archaeological materials, historic processes and theoretical aspects of specific periods.
  • To gain an appreciation of the interpretative potential of difference evidence types.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Become familiar with diverse theoretical approaches, concepts and intellectual frameworks that have been brought to bear upon the study of Mediterranean civilisations.
  • Gained a solid understanding of the main developments in the study of Mediterranean prehistory and early history.
  • Explored key developments and periods through the use of diverse case studies.
  • Developed an awareness of different types of evidence, as well as an appreciation of the problems involved in marshalling these different kinds of evidence.

Intellectual skills

  • Demonstrated an ability to evaluate and reflect critically upon different theoretical approaches and evidence types.
  • Acquired experience in summarizing one’s intellectual position coherently verbally and in writing.
  • Acquired experience in marshalling the evidence to support one’s own argument.

Practical skills

  • Acquired experience in presenting and reflecting upon evidence orally in a group context.
  • Demonstrated an ability to utilize Blackboard.
  • Demonstrated an ability to research a topic using library and internet resources.
  • Developed competency in applying appropriate academic conventions for presentation of written arguments.
  • Acquired experience in planning, conducting and presenting written coursework.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Gained practice in managing time and working to deadlines.
  • Acquired experience in contributing to group discussions.
  • Demonstrated an ability to communicate effectively in written work.
  • Developed experience in a critical use of the Internet to retrieve information.
  • Gained experience in utilizing computer word processing software.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Feedback methods

Feedback method        Formative or Summative
Written feedback Students will receive summative and formative feedback on their coursework assessments. Students are encouraged to submit a draft of the Object/Monument Essay to the course convenor for written formative feedback in advance of the final submission.
Oral feedback The seminars are a place for directed discussion and thus provide verbal formative feedback on the development and presentation of argument and interpretation on a weekly basis. In advance of submitting written coursework, students are encouraged to discuss their plans with the course convenor who will provide formative feedback.

Recommended reading

Algaze, G. 2008. Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization: The Evolution of an Urban Landscape. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Beard, M. and J. Henderson 2001. Classical Art: from Greece to Rome. Oxford: OUP.

Braudel, F. 1972. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (S. Reynolds, trans.). London: Harper Collins.

Broodbank, C. 2013. The Making of the Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean from the Beginning to the Emergence of the Classical World. London: Thames & Hudson.

Horden, P. and N. Purcell 2000. The Corrupting Sea. A Study of Mediterranean History. Oxford: Blackwell.

Rutter, J. Aegean Prehistoric Archaeology; Stansbury-O’Donnell, M.D. 2015. A History of Greek Art. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.

Tuck, S.L. 2015. A History of Roman Art. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell. Whitley, J. 2001. The Archaeology of Ancient Greece. Cambridge: CUP.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 3
Lectures 22
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Duncan Keenan-Jones Unit coordinator

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