06 Jun 2007

The Open University launches new World Archaeology course

A new course, World Archaeology, has been launched by The Open University. Aimed at encouraging a knowledge and understanding of human cultural development world-wide, the course covers global human history – from the last Ice Age to historic times – and provides a deep time perspective and global awareness of cultural and social development.

The 18-week course will be of particular interest to those who have previously studied history; history of science, technology and medicine; classical studies; or art history.

World Archaeology covers most of the past 12,000 years ending in Europe with the fall of the Roman Empire and continuing until the 18th century in the Pacific. Its geographical range extends to all inhabited regions of the globe and the focus of the course is the study of the development of human culture and societies.

The principal themes will be the beginnings of agriculture; the development of cities, states and empires; the development of the arts; technology; and adaptation to the environment. All the major world civilizations, such as Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Classical, Chinese, Aztecs are covered, along with others that did not develop to similar levels of complexity.

Dr Phil Perkins, course chair, comments: "The new course is the first archaeology course to be offered by the OU, and it gives students the opportunity to study a much longer period of time than any previous course and also to study and compare all regions of the world.

"World Archaeology provides students with a knowledge and critical understanding of the development of human cultures worldwide and also the opportunity to apply their knowledge accurately to a range of issues relating to the contemporary understanding of the global human past, through the critical evaluation and interpretation of archaeological evidence in a variety of case studies.

"Contemporary societies face challenges from global climate change, population growth, inequality and injustice: none of these is a new problem – they have been constant companions of human societies since the last Ice Age. The course offers a new perspective by investigating the archaeology of how such challenges have been faced in the past in different parts of the world. The course also values all past societies equally wherever they lived and does not privilege any particular cultural trajectory through time."

Students will be making extensive use of internet resources and will be assessed through three tutor-marked assignments and an end-of-course assessment.

The 30-point course is a specified course in the OU’s BA (Hons) History, BA (Hons) Humanities and BA (Hons) European Studies, and can also count towards most other degrees at bachelors level.

The course starts in September 2007. For further information or to register, please visit or call the OU’s Student registration & Enquiry Service on 0845 300 60 90.

Editor’s Notes

The Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts offers students the opportunity to study many aspects of human culture by exploring people’s writings, ideas and beliefs. A better understanding of how people’s thoughts and practices have developed through the ages can be built by learning to analyse, appreciate and assess works of art, literature, music, philosophy, history and religion. The Faculty is organised into eight departments: art history; classical studies; history; history of science, technology and medicine; literature; music; philosophy; and religious studies. It also includes the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies and an inter-faculty research centre, The International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR).

The Open University

The OU offers 580 courses. Subject areas are: Business and Management; Child and Youth Studies; Computing and ICT; Education and Teaching; Engineering and Technology; Environment, development and International Studies; Health and Social Care; Humanities – Arts, History, Philosophy, Religion; Languages – English, French, German, Italian, Spanish; Law; Mathematics and Statistics; Psychology; Science; Social Sciences – Politics, Sociology, Economics.

back to All News stories

back to previous page

back to top