Languages for All
Short Courses
Your basket
Your account

Archaeology of Scotland: Stone and Bronze, the Early Prehistory

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

A wide-ranging introduction to the culture and landscape of early prehistoric Scotland, from the first hunter-gatherers to the origin of metalworking. This survey of archaeological sites will focus on reconstructing the economy, society and ideology of prehistoric people. This course provides an opportunity to handle excavated materials.

Please note, some classes will take place in Medical School, Central Campus.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Content of Course

1. The history and practice of archaeology in Scotland.

2. The nature of the archaeological record of Scotland.

3. The initial colonisation of Scotland: the evidence for Scotland's first settlers.

4. Early hunter-gatherers: culture and society.

5. Later hunter-gatherers and the transition to farming.

6. Early farmers: settlement and subsistence.

7. Case Studies of Orkney: a Neolithic landscape.

8. Ritual and monumentality in the Scottish landscape.

9. The Beaker phenomenon and the introduction of metallurgy.

10. The Bronze Age: hoarding, society, weapons and warfare.

Teaching method(s)

Teaching methods will be based on lectures, combined with illustrative examples of excavated materials. This will be followed by a group discussion and debate of theories/issues raised in the lecture and hand-outs. Informal group discussions will also provide an opportunity for students to handle artefacts to gain a clearer picture of the practical work undertaken by archaeologists.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate an appropriate understanding of relevant archaeological methods and techniques - the identification, recovery, documenting, analysis and interpretation of archaeological evidence.

  • Critically evaluate archaeological evidence and interpretations, presenting a logical, reasoned argument.

  • Describe the chronology and framework of society and settlement in the early prehistoric periods of Scotland.


Core Readings


  • Edwards, K.J. & I. B. Ralston, I.B., 2003. Scotland After the Ice Age. Environment, Archaeology and History 8000 BC-AD 1000. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press.


  • Barclay, G., 2005. Farmers, Temples and Tombs: Scotland in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. Birlinn Ltd., 2nd revised edition, Historic Scotland.

  • Finlayson, B., 2005. Wild Harvesters: the first people in Scotland. Birlinn Ltd, 2nd revised edition, Historic Scotland.

Web Sources

Class Handouts

There will be one hand out each week containing a summary of the lecture and relevant references for further reading.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.