Archaeology 2A: 20 Things that Changed the World ARCH2004

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce students to some of the main changes in human prehistory and history which have contributed to creating the world as we know it. It achieves this by focusing on 20 different 'things' (e.g. pots, metals, houses, burials, and more), which can be expanded outwards to understand societies, whole periods, and key episodes of social and political change. The course takes a broadly chronological structure, stretching from the Neolithic to Medieval periods, and covers an area encompassing Europe, the Mediterranean, and Western Asia.


Wednesday and Friday at 12 noon over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus; weekly one hour seminar (choice of times) over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus

Requirements of Entry

Grade D3 or above in Archaeology 1B (ARCH1002).

Excluded Courses





Class Quizzes (10 x 5 questions; 500 words) - 10% 

Picture Quiz (500 words) - 10% 

Essay (1,500 Words) - 30%

Exam (90-minute duration; 1,500 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

This course aims to:


■ introduce students to the key themes of European, Mediterranean, and Western Asian archaeology, assessed through an essay, quizzes and examination;

■ situate these themes in a broad regional and chronological framework, assessed through an essay, quizzes and examination;

■ exhibit the diversity of material evidence open to the archaeologist when interpreting the past, and when building archaeological narratives;

■ train students in transferrable, as well as more specifically archaeological, skills, assessed through the essay and practised in seminars;

■ provide an archaeological framework for the other level 2 course.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ outline some of the key themes of European, Mediterranean, and Western Asian archaeology;

■ understand the processes behind, and the outcomes of, some large-scale and localised social and economic transition in European, Mediterranean, and Western Asian prehistory and historical periods;

■ appreciate the diversity of archaeological evidence, and mobilise this evidence to build narratives and interpretations of past societies and social changes;

■ use organisational and academic skills to present arguments in written work and contextualise diverse archaeological material;

■ use oral, presentational and interpersonal skills to sustain and defend arguments in presentations and group discussions on prescribed topics.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.