The course introduces students to the nature of written sources for pre-industrial societies and to problems and methods of handling such evidence. It is an integral part of the first year work for those archaeology degrees that concern societies and periods with written sources, and prepares students to handle archaeological and textual evidence together in years two and three.
The topics covered include: problems of interpretation; the writer and the audience; chronicles and genealogies; texts as material culture and as artefacts in their own right; the relationship between art and text; the impact of writing on society; writing systems as social engineering, etc.Some specific aims of the course are:
- To introduce students to the nature of written sources for pre-industrial societies
- To examine methods and approaches of working with texts in archaeology
- To consider how textual and non-textual approaches to the past can best be integrated
- To discuss and analyze specific case-studies of texts in archaeology, sampled from a wide range of past literate societies.
The course runs for Term I only. The course is taught through a total of 20 hours of lectures and seminars. These are divided into weekly sessions consisting of a one-hour lecture, followed by a one-hour seminar later on the same day.