MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-2018


SPRING SEMESTER 20 CREDITS



AAP239 EUROPE'S FIRST FARMERS



CO-ORDINATOR: MICHAEL WALLACE
OTHER TUTORS:


MODULE OUTLINE

This module explores the social, cultural and economic worlds of Europe’s first farmers, during the first 500-1000 years from the beginnings of the Neolithic, ranging from the 7th millennium BC in the southeast to the 4th millennium BC in the northwest of the continent. A series of paired lectures and seminars examines topics including settlement, land use, subsistence, craft production and exchange, material culture and identity, and warfare, and the long-standing debate between colonisation and acculturation as mechanisms of Neolithisation. Geographically, the module ranges widely across Mediterranean and temperate Europe, focussing on case studies selected for their richness of data or their potential to illustrate regional contrasts. Throughout emphasis is placed on integration of ‘conventional’ and ‘scientific’ archaeological data, interpreted in the light of analogy with recent small-scale farming societies.


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to introduce students to:
• broad patterns in the neolithisation of Europe
• the nature of early farming societies and economies in Mediterranean and temperate Europe
• the interrelationship between early farmers’ social relationships, economic practices, ideology and material culture
• the nature of the evidence available for investigating early farmers and the complementary strengths and weaknesses of different classes of evidence (both conventional and scientific)
• the potential and pitfalls of present-day ethnographic, experimental and ecological analogies as aids to understanding Europe’s first farmers


MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate that they:
• have knowledge of broad patterns in the neolithisation of Europe
• understand the nature of early farming societies and economies in Mediterranean and temperate Europe
• understand the interrelationship between early farmers’ social relationships, economic practices, ideology and material culture
• understand the nature of the evidence available for investigating early farmers and the complementary strengths and weaknesses of different classes of evidence (both conventional and scientific)
• understand the potential and pitfalls of present-day ethnographic, experimental and ecological analogies as aids to understanding Europe’s first farmers


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SKILLS ACQUIRED

Working with ideas - ability to think creatively and critically about the questions posed and solutions thereto considered in the course of the module
Researching - ability to evaluate critically and to use productively library and other sources of information.
Working with different data-sets - ability to use the differences between data-sets to generate significant insights
Data collection and analysis - ability to recognise the strengths/limitations of different methods/techniques of data capture and analysis and to evaluate critically the flaws and biases in diverse data sets and to assess their relevance to particular questions.
Team working - ability to contribute effectively to, and organise, group work
Communication Skills - communicating complex ideas and data sets with clarity both orally and in writing


STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type Hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 11
Independent/Group Study (including preparation for assessments) 178


ASSESSMENT

Method % of marks Length / words
Mid Term essay 20% 1000
End of Term essay 40% 2000
Examination 40% 1.5 hrs


EXAMPLE LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES

  • Neolithisation: what and when
  • Neolithisation & agricultural colonisation: pots, genes and people
  • Early farming settlement
  • Early farming households?
  • Early farmer demography and its proxies
  • Farmers, foragers & disease
  • Subsistence & diet
  • Food & commensality
  • Early cultivation in Europe
  • Neolithic ‘slash & burn’?
  • Animal husbandry – questions of scale & mobility
  • Neolithic warfare
  • Warfare in Neolithic Greece?
  • Alliance & exchange
  • Mining & mobility
  • (Trans-)egalitarianism in EN S Europe
  • Livestock & inequality
  • Identities, material and biological