CLAS208-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024

Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean World

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2024
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 28 July 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 29 September 2024


This course introduces the basic principles of archaeology as a discipline. It will focus on the main categories of evidence for Classical Archaeology and will use examples drawn from sites in the Mediterranean basin from 3000 BCE- 400 CE. The course will also use artefacts in the collections of the Teece Museum and the Canterbury Museum.

Although it focuses on Classical Archaeology, students who complete the course will be well prepared to continue their study of archaeology in other areas.

Weekly topics include: history of archaeology, categories of evidence, locating sites, dating methods, using archaeological data to understand and explain human societies and environment, archaeology and human cognition (language, artefacts, ritual), ethics and archaeology, and heritage/conservation.

Class time will be divided between two hours of interactive lectures and a one-hour workshop each week. Readings will be assigned for each lecture topic, while workshops will focus on primary evidence, archaeological techniques, artefacts, and other archaeological issues.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific course outcomes:
1. A basic ability to identify and discuss in detail what constitutes a well-excavated and properly reported archaeological site.
2. A basic ability to understand archaeological data and identify what we learn from stratigraphy, scientific analysis of various types, pottery, coins and other finds.
3. An understanding of archaeological sites in relation to heritage management, and the national and international laws governing the protection of cultural patrimony and the sale of antiquities.

Transferrable skills:
4. Improved argumentation and writing skills and improved critical/analytical skills
5. Workplace skills including: problem-solving using different types of data and evidence, close observation skills, time management, and self-confidence and autonomy built upon disciplined habits of study and pursuit of set goals.
6. Improved ability to conduct research and present it to an intelligent audience.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Biculturally competent and confident

Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 15 points from 100 level in CLAS, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA, or
60 points at 100 level from any other bachelor's degree.

Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 13:00 - 14:00 Beatrice Tinsley 112
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 13:00 - 14:00 Ernest Rutherford 141
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Workshop A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 10:00 - 11:00 E12 (18/7-25/7, 8/8, 22/8, 12/9, 26/9-17/10)
Rehua 003 Music (1/8-15/8)
E16 Lecture Theatre (19/9)
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
02 Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 Rata 129 Tutorial Room
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
03 Thursday 12:00 - 13:00 Rata 129 Tutorial Room
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct

Course Coordinator

Alison Griffith


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Participation 10% Workshop participation and preparation
Workshop Assignments 10% Workshop assignments (10 x weekly for weeks 2-11)
Archaeological problem assignment 20% 1000 - 1200 words
Site analysis 30% 1000 - 1200 words
Exam 30% 2 hours

Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Renfrew, Colin , Bahn, Paul G; Archaeology essentials : theories, methods, practice ; Fourth edition; Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2018 (This edition is an abridged version of the book below. Purchasing a new copy allows access to the website, where you can take quizzes on each chapter. Sometimes it is more expensive than the full version below).

Renfrew, Colin, Bahn, Paul G; Archaeology: Theories, Methods, and Practice ; Eighth edition; Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2020 (This edition has more pages, with more examples and images, but no website access. Sometimes it is cheaper than the edition above. For students who love to read about archaeology, this is a good choice).

Students may choose between two editions of the required text.

There are two copies of each book in the UC Library on High Demand. A few copies of both will be available in the University bookshop.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $844.00

International fee $3,950.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities .

All CLAS208 Occurrences

  • CLAS208-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024