Landscape and Power in Ancient Western Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean ARCH4009

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores a series of key issues related to the spatial production and negotiation of socio-political power in early complex societies in Western Asia and the East Mediterranean between ca. 3500 and 330 BC. The course draws primarily on archaeological survey evidence and historical and iconographic sources to examine the spatial constitution of political power in comparative cases of state-formation and imperial expansion and resistance.


8x1hr lectures; 12x1hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Archaeology and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Archaeology, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2500 words) (50%)

Exam (1500 word equivalent; 50%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to

■ provide an overview of the archaeology and major socio-political developments in Western Asia and the East Mediterranean between ca. 3500 - 330 BC

■ investigate key issues in the study of landscapes and settlement patterns with regard to political organisation

■ explore different theoretical and methodological frameworks for the analysis of landscapes and their socio-political significance through specific case studies

■ investigate and evaluate a range of different sources - archaeological, textual and iconographic, with a special emphasis on field survey techniques and methods for the analysis of political landscapes

■ provide opportunities for students to develop transferable skills of analysis, presentation and communication.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ identify the principal settlement types and characteristic settlement distributions in Western Asia and the East Mediterranean between ca. 3500 - 330 BC

■ critically evaluate field survey methods and results with respect to different Mediterranean and West Asian environments

■ explain the role of landscape and urban space in the production and negotiation of social and political power.

■ interpret, integrate and evaluate a variety of sources of evidence, including archaeological, textual and iconographic

■ apply a range of theoretical approaches to states, empires and their spatial dimensions

■ formulate and present arguments 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.