Archaeological Conundrums

Ref: C2224558

Scientific and technological advances enable archaeologists to revise theories and re-interpret the past. We shall look at some debates - and 'conundrums' - in current archaeology: when, and why, did Britons first start farming and why did it have such a huge impact on settlement patterns? How can we even begin to know the meaning of ancient sacred - or ritual - sites? We know a lot about Roman Britain from surviving buildings but what about 'un-Roman Britain'? What did the Romans actually do for us? Every year someone, somewhere, discovers a hoard of treasure which makes the news. Were these hidden in times of trouble or ritual deposits?

Course aim

The course aims to examine how archaeologists re-interpret sites in the light of new evidence provided by scientific developments.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course is suitable for everyone with an interest in archaeology and history.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe the changes that occurred in Neolithic Britain which led to a 'farming revolution' and the evidence that supports this.
  • List methods used by archaeologists to identify sacred sites in the archaeological record.
  • Discuss various theories used by archaeologists to identify what the Romans did for us.
  • Discuss arguments that suggest the lasting effects of Roman rule in western Britain enabled them to resist Anglo Saxon invaders..
  • To analyse sites where hoards of treasure have been found and discuss theories about whether these constitute unclaimed treasure buried in times of trouble, or ritual deposits.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • Students will be expected to study the handouts given out in class and to read books and journals to supplement the course.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Students will be expected to bring paper, pens etc. to make notes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Students could join an archaeological group and possibly undertake archaeological investigations.

Download full Course information sheet

Archaeological Conundrums


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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