Archaeology BSc/MA/MA(SocSci)

Being Human in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia ARCH4074

  • 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 themes relating to the lived experiences of individuals and communities in Egypt and Mesopotamia between ca. 10,000 and 1,000 BCE. The course will draw on comparative archaeological, historical, and iconographic sources to examine the construction of social communities, framed through the theoretical themes of cohesion, inequality, and identity. Students will be encouraged to reflect critically on some of the core methods and assumptions that have traditionally governed research in these regions, and will be given opportunities to develop diverse new understandings of past peoples' everyday lives.


One two-hour session (integrated lecture and seminar) per week for 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.

Excluded Courses





One worksheet of 1500 words: 30%

Interpretive video podcast (5 minutes; equivalent of 500 words): 20%

Essay (2000 words) 50%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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 a detailed examination of the construction and articulation of social life in Egypt and Mesopotamia between ca. 10,000 - 1,000 BCE.

■ Investigate key issues in the study of identity and experience with regard to social organisation.

■ Explore different theoretical and methodological frameworks for the analysis of social experience through specific case studies.

■ Investigate and evaluate a range of different sources - archaeological, textual and iconographic - with a special emphasis on interdisciplinary integration.

■ Provide opportunities for students to develop transferable skills, such as the ability to communicate ideas effectively in written and oral work.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Identify and evaluate important aspects of social experience in the Egypt and Mesopotamia between ca. 10,000 - 1,000 BCE.

■ Critically analyse the roles of cohesion, inequality, and identity in the formation of past communities.

■ Interpret a variety of sources of evidence, including archaeological, textual, and iconographic, taking into account their advantages and biases, and combining them effectively.

■ Critically reflect on the sources, methods, and theories associated with the study of human social experience in the past through group discussion in class.

■ Apply a range of social theories to archaeological evidence through prescribed topics.

■ Communicate archaeological knowledge to a non-academic audience through oral 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.