What is the course about?
This course will provide students with an introduction to British archaeology in the Middle East during the long 19th century. Starting with British and French exploration of the Assyrian cities of Nineveh and Nimrud we will study the interconnection between archaeology, exploration, and international politics in the Age of Empire. We will look at the role of museums in fuelling the competitive interest of the British, French, German and Ottoman Empires in acquiring the material remains of the past.
What will we cover?
- The Ancient Near East: an overview
- The discovery of Assyria: French and British excavations at Nineveh, Nimrud and Khorsabad
- Deciphering cuneiform, the consular service and the East India Company
- Imperial competition: French, American, Ottoman and German projects
- Archaeology and the Bible
- Collecting the past: museums and archaeology.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
At the end of the course students can expect to have an overview of the development of archaeology in the Middle East. They will be able to understand the close connection between archaeological exploration and imperial politics in the period covered. They will be able to identify key moments and themes in the history of Western interaction in the Middle East and the geographical and political importance of the region in the long 19th century.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an ‘introductory’ course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course. You will gain more from the course, in terms of enjoyment and learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. As with most of our history and current affairs courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A mixture of lecture, Q & A, source work using primary and secondary sources, pair/group and class discussion. A comprehensive bibliography will be given at the beginning of the course. Also (brief) reading materials will be given at the end of the session. Please note that supplementary reading is not a course requirement, but you will get more out of the course if you do some extra reading.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
A list of recommended reading material and recommended websites will be provided, but this is optional. Please bring pen and paper.
General recommended reading:
Bernhardsson, Magnus Thorkell. Reclaiming a Plundered Past: Archaeology and Nation Building in Modern Iraq. University of Texas Press, 2005.
Fagan, Brian M. Return to Babylon: Travelers, Archaeologists, and Monuments in Mesopotamia, Rev. ed. University Press of Colorado, 2007.
James, L. (1994). The Rise and Fall of the British Empire. London: Little, Brown.
Van De Mieroop, Marc. A History of the Ancient Near East, Ca. 3000-323 BC. 3rd ed. Blackwell, 2016.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may be interested in ou rother History and Politics courses. Please check out prospectus or look on our website for more information.