Institute of Archaeology

The Mediterranean world in the Iron Age

The course is intended to offer students a detailed knowledge of the Iron Age in the Mediterranean region. It is meant to complement the two other MA options on Comparative Themes in the Mediterranean and The Prehistory of the Mediterranean World respectively, but it can also stand on its own to provide advanced training on the archaeology of Iron Age Mediterranean. The study region encompasses all areas facing the Mediterranean basin although particular attention will be devoted to those areas that are closest to the Coordinator’s research areas, particularly the Central Mediterranean and the Greek world. The structure of the course will be regionally-based but will also revolve around key topics that are characteristics of the study region.

The course will begin with an introduction to the study region and previous and current approaches to understand the Iron Age Mediterranean. Other key topics will be:

  • the Bronze Age/Iron Age transition;
  • the east Mediterranean and the Levant;
  • culture contact, the Phoenicians, and Orientalising; literacy;
  • the archaeology of cult;
  • the West Mediterranean and the Iberian Peninsula;
  • the Central Mediterranean and the Tyrrhenian Sea Region;
  • the Greek world enlarged;
  • from cities to empires.

Students will be able to explore these large themes through a range of different forms of material culture, so this course should be of interest to students in the Comparative Art MA as well as MA Archaeology, MA Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Aims of the course

The course is intended to offer students an advanced knowledge of the Mediterranean region from the beginning of the Iron Age to c. 5 th century BC. The study region encompasses all areas facing the Mediterranean basin, but the course will focus on selected Mediterranean regions with particular attention to the Central Mediterranean and the Greek world at large.

The aims of the module are:

  • To provide an advanced knowledge in the archaeology of the Mediterranean region in the Iron Age
  • To instruct students in critical anlysis of current research on the study region (problems, method and theory, quality of data)
  • To engage students with the material and resources related to the study region
  • To stimulate students to work across regional boundaries and formulate sophisticated approaches to culture contact


On successful completion of this course a student should:

  • Have an overview of the archaeology of the study region
  • Be familiar with the key interpretative frameworks for the study of the Iron Age Mediterranean
  • Understand the patterns and processes of change in the construction of social and cultural identities, social structure, political complexity and settlement development
  • Have a sense of the changing patterns of cultural interaction and the significance of connectivity across the Mediterranean basin

It is not expected that students will acquire a detailed knowledge of the archaeology of the entire region. This is not the aim of the course; the focus is instead to tease out and elaborate on issues which can be employed comparatively to understand the region as a whole.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students should be able to demonstrate/have developed:

  • Analysis and presentation of complex arguments and theories about aspects of the subject
  • Ability to compare and analyse data and material across regional and subject-specific boundaries
  • application of acquired knowledge to individual sites and bodies of material
  • written and oral presentation skills

Teaching Methods

The course is taught through seminars with occasional presentations or lectures from the teaching staff. Seminars have weekly recommended readings, which students will be expected to have done in order to be able fully to follow and to contribute actively to discussions. In addition, apart from the first seminar, in some cases, students will be expected to make a short presentation from the reading, to stimulate discussion: all students should have made one presentation by the end of the course.

Course information

  • Code: ARCLG202
  • Credits: 15
  • Coordinator: Corinna Riva
  • Prerequisite: This course does not have a prerequisite.
  • Handbook: open»

For registered students


  • Running in 2017-18

Bookmark and Share