Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Landscape and Power in the Ancient Near East and East Mediterranean PGT ARCH5114

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus 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 the Near East and 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.


Two hours each week for 10 weeks, including 8 hours of formal lectures, ca. 8 to 9 hours (depending on group size and number of student presentations) of group discussion based on assigned readings, and ca. 3 to 4 hours of assessed student presentations.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level




3-min pitch and blog post (1000 words) on an approved topic 20%

Essay (3000 words) on an approved topic 50%

Book review (1000 words) 30%

Course Aims

This course aims to

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

■ understand the concept of power as it can be applied in the ancient world, and especially to ancient landscapes

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

■ enable the capacity to critically 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 interdisciplinary research skills and communicate complex issues both in writing and orally to a small group

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

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

■ critically evaluate field survey methods and results with respect to different Mediterranean and Near Eastern environments.

■ demonstrate a good understanding of the role of landscape and urban space in the production and negotiation of social and political power.

■ show familiarity with a variety of sources of evidence, including archaeological, textual and iconographic, their advantages and biases as well as an understanding of how these may be combined

■ critique the sources, methods and theories associated with the study of states, empires and their spatial dimensions.

■ Develop competence, appropriate to PGT level, in the formulation and presentation of arguments on a topic of their choice, and the communication of archaeological knowledge to a non-academic audience.

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.