• The archaeology of Africa is a rich and complex subject - a field of study with the power to dissolve the myth of a ‘dark continent’ devoid of history, and reveal instead the incredible diversity of the African experience. By exploring this largely unwritten past you will discover the amazing achievements of African peoples, recognise Africa’s significant contribution to our shared human heritage, and develop a deeper understanding of some of the challenges faced by the continent in the 21st century. From human origins to the development of agriculture and the rise of complex societies, this course offers a broad introduction to the archaeology of the African continent. You will explore key research themes and engage with interdisciplinary methodologies that include physical and cultural anthropology, written and oral histories, environmental studies and ethnography. By examining important archaeological research from the Sahara to South Africa, you will learn how the continent has long played a dynamic cultural and economic role on the global stage.
  • Coveted and contested for millennia by both settlers and foreign powers, the island of Sicily boasts a rich and eclectic treasure trove of cultural heritage. This exciting course takes us through 14,000 years of Sicilian culture, all unfolding in the fertile volcanic landscape wrought by the omnipotent fury of Mount Etna. From fascinating glimpses of prehistoric peoples to the awe-inspiring architecture of the Classical and Norman periods, we explore the archaeological allure of this Mediterranean jewel. Descend into underground cities of the dead, study the ruins of Greek temples and Roman theatres, and marvel at the glittering opulence of historical kings as we explore the archaeology of Sicily – Alexis de Tocqueville's land of gods and heroes.
  • Join us for Archaeology of the British Isles, a fascinating introduction to the rich and diverse archaeology of Britain and Ireland. In this tutor-led course we investigate the material culture of peoples who have settled in Britain over the millennia, from the Lower Palaeolithic to the Norman period, and we discover the significance of some of the most intriguing sites, monuments and artefacts they left behind. Following a broadly chronological framework through important periods, cultural influences and events in Britain, we engage with the latest archaeological research to glimpse life in past societies. Along the way, we follow a number of recurring themes like social structure, politics and power, settlement organisation, economics and religion – all of which have left tantalising traces in Britain's archaeological record. Our journey will nurture a fresh appreciation for the discipline of archaeology and for the unique contribution it makes to our understanding of the human story, in Britain and beyond.
  • Ritual and magic have played a vital role in the development and structure of societies all over the world, and throughout human history. Shamans, sangomas, voodoo queens and high priestesses all hold important keys to our understanding of ritual practices and the use of magic in society. In this unique five-week online course we will embark on an anthropological journey through the supernatural world. Adopting a cross-cultural perspective, you will be guided week by week through the discovery and critical evaluation of rich anthropological, historical and archaeological evidence. Why has the supernatural been so important to us, and how has its relevance been embedded in, and expressed by, different cultures across time and space? To what extent are we still influenced by the spiritual realm in all of its various manifestations? We will seek answers to these questions by examining aspects of mythology, folklore and ritual practice that fascinate and challenge, glimpsing a realm of humanity that is at times both enlightening and terrifying.