The International Age in the East Mediterranean and its Aftermath (ca. 1600-900 BC) ARCH4055

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

Short Description

This course explores a series of key aspects of the Late Bronze Age international age from trade and diplomacy to local production and amalgamation of cultural traditions against the background of regional developments in Anatolia, the Levant and upper Mesopotamia, Egypt, Cyprus and the Aegean. It surveys the evidence for the decline and transformation of different societies at the end of this phase as well as the emergence of new political and social orders in the Early Iron Age up until the expansion of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.


Two hours each week for 10 weeks, including ca. 18 hours of a combination of formal lectures and discussions based on assigned readings, and 2 hours of student presentations.

Requirements of Entry



Short Essay: 30 % (1500 words)

Self-Directed Project Report/Long Essay (continuous assessment: total 60%): project outline and literature critique 20%; final project report/long essay: 40% (total: 4000 words)

Student Presentation (10%; assessment will be based on presentation content and power-point presentation)


Justification for the absence of an exam in this course: This course covers six regions of the East Mediterranean whose Late Bronze and Iron Age societies are culturally and socio-politically diverse and engaged in a wide range of interactions with each other. Inter-cultural interaction as well as societal/state collapse and transformation furthermore are complex issues with growing theoretical bodies of literature, which the students are expected to engage with and draw links with the Mediterranean case studies. I believe that it is not possible for students to engage with both the regional archaeological and historical information of this course and the theoretical issues of interaction and collapse/transformation in the desired depth in a series of short exam essays. The time-pressured environment of exams, moreover, is not conducive to the development of analytical depth and independent ideas. As regards issues of plagiarism, the combination of topics in this course and a strong focus on recent theoretical developments makes the existence of, for instance, downloadable coursework from internet sources highly unlikely. The Self-directed project/long essay, furthermore, is assessed continuously in order to provide ongoing feedback to the students but also to ensure the work presented is that of the student.

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 of the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age East Mediterranean between ca. 1600 and 900 BC. 

■ investigate key issues in the study of different types of inter-regional interaction between a range of East Mediterranean societies.

■ explore different theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches to the study of inter-regional interaction from a local as well as supra-regional perspective. 

■ investigate and evaluate a range of different sources of evidence for Late Bronze and Early Iron Age societies in the East Mediterranean and their interaction.

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

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ demonstrate an understanding of Late Bronze and Early Iron Age societies in Anatolia, the Levant and upper Mesopotamia, Egypt, Cyprus and the Aegean and their development. This will be assessed through the short essay, the self-directed project/long essay and the student presentation.

■ critically evaluate different theoretical frameworks for the analysis of different forms of inter-regional interaction and their local and supra-regional consequences on the basis of East Mediterranean case studies. This will be assessed through the essay and self-directed project/long essay.

■ demonstrate knowledge of a range of analytical methodologies to investigate inter-regional interaction. This will be assessed through the self-directed project/long essay.

■ show familiarity with a variety of sources of evidence (archaeological, textual and iconographic) their advantages and biases. This will be assessed through the essay, self-directed project/long essay and student presentation.

■ demonstrate competence, appropriate to Honours level, in the formulation and presentation of arguments on prescribed topics. This will be assessed through the essay, self-directed project/long essay and seminar presentation.

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.