ARCH30170 Combat Archaeology

Academic Year 2023/2024

Warfare is a transformative aspect of human cultures, from territoriality in gatherer-hunter society to the global scale we witness today. Warfare is traditionally approached from a military historical perspective, considering questions of cause, organisation and outcome of wars. This approach underplays the unique contribution archaeology makes to the social sciences, particularly our engagement with material cultural remains. This course places weapons, the artefacts of combat and war, at its heart. Through these we shall investigate the practical and personal applications of weapons in the context of combat, and the social, personal, and individual implications that arise from their development and especially their practical use. We shall begin with the early Prehistoric appearance of weapons, and trace their role during the Bronze Age, Greek and Roman World, China and Japan, into the Mediaeval and Early Modern periods.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, you should be able to:
1) Identify, analyse and report on the material culture of warfare from the prehistory to the Medieval period, including technology and metallurgy.
2) Chart major developments in interpersonal violence & combat systems through these periods.
3) Demonstrate competency in generic artefact studies including handling, and recording of ancient artefacts.
4) Understand the contribution of combat and violence to social institutions, processes, and values.
5) Make their own shield

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning








Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module encourages learning based on the principles of multiple intelligences.
Critical writing: exam
Active/task-based learning: practical/experiential engagement with material culture/artefacts (shield-making and controlled practical combat).
Reflective learning: self-reflection (on the shield-making and practical components) 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: In week 11 you will be given 7 questions of which you must complete 3: a compulsory picture question, and 6 essays, of which you must choose 2. You will be allowed 2 weeks to complete the assignment. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Project: You will be required to make your own shield. This is to be used in the practical sessions later in the semester. Week 10 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Neil Carlin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Barry Molloy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Tadhg O'Keeffe Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Brendan O'Neill Lecturer / Co-Lecturer