What you will study
This module will be of particular interest if you have studied or are thinking about studying history; history of science, technology and medicine; classical studies; or art history. The principal themes are the beginnings of agriculture; the development of cities, states and empires; and the spread of human populations around the globe. The major world civilisations, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Classical, Chinese, Aztec etc. are all included, along with other societies that did not develop to the same level of complexity.
The module also introduces you to the archaeological study of human societies. Its focus is not so much upon teaching basic study skills (appropriate to OU level 1) but upon developing your ability to assimilate and synthesise information. There’s no examination at the end of the module; instead you’ll take some first steps in independent study as you complete an extended essay as an end-of-module assessment (EMA). Blocks 1-3 take a chronological and geographical approach to the development of human culture and society. Block 4 consists of a range of thematic studies that will extend your knowledge and understanding of how archaeology can add to our knowledge of the past.
Although this is a 30-credit module it lasts only 18 weeks. Therefore you will be studying at a rate equivalent to a 60-credit module, but for a shorter period.
This module’s core text is The Human Past: World Prehistory and the Development of Human Societies edited by C. Scarre, which is sent as part of your study materials. Your work with the text will be supported by a study guide, which will contain in-text exercises and references to work on an audio CD and exercises based on using the internet. The module makes extensive use of the internet, introducing you to archaeology online and developing the skills you need to effectively use the internet for study.
You will learn
This module will provide you with a knowledge and critical understanding of the development of human cultures worldwide and some of the principles, concepts and techniques used in the study of the archaeology of the world.
It will provide you with the opportunity to apply knowledge and understanding accurately to a range of issues, questions and problems relating to the contemporary understanding of the global human past, through the critical evaluation and interpretation of archaeological evidence in a variety of case studies.
Through your assignments, you’ll be able to compare and use different approaches to issues in world archaeology. You’ll have the opportunity to deploy your skills to communicate information, arguments and ideas effectively, using the appropriate style and language. In the EMA, you’ll find, critically evaluate and use information accurately to write an extended essay using ICT tools and skills, as appropriate.