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AHIS1240 – Ancient Israel and the Near East

2020 – Session 1, Fully online/virtual

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Kyle Keimer
Contact via email
by appointment
Javier Alvarez-Mon
Contact via email
by appointment
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit of study provides an introduction to the wide sweep of cultures that have shaped the ancient Near East. Using archaeological, textual and artistic evidence, students will learn about domestication and the development of agriculture, the emergence of the first villages, cities and states, the earliest forms of writing, and how civilizations developed in rich and varied ways across the ancient world. Material is based within a broad chronological framework, beginning in ca. 10.000 BC with the growth of the first farming villages and going on to explore the rise of kingdoms and empires, with particular emphasis made on the cultures that developed in ancient Israel and Iran, until the arrival of Alexander the Great in 323 BC.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Demonstrate a broad and coherent body of knowledge, with depth in the underlying principles and concepts of the civilizations that emerged in the ancient Near East.
  • ULO2: Illustrate knowledge of historical developments, research principles and discipline specific methodologies relevant to the ancient Near East.
  • ULO3: Explain the principles and processes by which archaeological, artistic and textual data from the ancient Near East is analysed, evaluated and interpreted.
  • ULO4: Engage with contemporary cultural perspectives and practices and contextualize historical knowledge and issues related to the study of ancient Near Eastern civilizations according to intellectual and/or methodological conventions.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

This class is offered In Person (Internal) and Fully Online Virtually (OUA is Fully Online Virtual only) (External). Internal students will meet in-class for lectures and tutorials while external students will access course material via the iLearn website. Lectures will be recorded every week and made available via iLearn for external students. Every student, whether internal or external, will need internet access that allows the downloading of unit content and additional resources in order to pass this course. 

There is no Required Textbook for this unit. Weekly readings that accompany the lectures and those for the tutorials will be posted on the Unit's Leganto page (which can be accessed via the Unit's iLearn page). Be sure to complete any readings listed for a given week before coming to class for that week.

Recommended Texts:

Van De Mieroop, Marc. A History of the Ancient Near East: 3000–323 BC (3rd Ed.; Wiley 2016). ISBN: 978-1-118-71816-2 (there is also an ebook version)

Ben-Tor, Amnon (ed). 1992 The Archaeology of Ancient Israel. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. ISBN 0300059191

Mazar, Amihai. 1990 Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, 10,000-586 B.C.E. Doubleday, New York. ISBN: 0385425902

Richard, Suzanne. 2003 Near Eastern Archaeology: A Reader. Eisenbrauns: Winona Lake, IN. ISBN: 1575060833

Stern, Ephraim. 2001 Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, Volume II: The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732-332 B.C.E.). Doubleday, New York. ISBN: 0385424507

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

  1. Intro and Geography and Chronology
    1. Tutorial: Introduction and the Place of Geography in History
  2. Sapiens, Hunter-Gatherers (Gobekli Tepe) and Catal Huyuk (10,000-6700)
    1. Tutorial: Domestication: the worst mistake in history? 
  3. Village to Town, Uruk and the Invention of Writing (6700-3000)
    1. Tutorial: Cuneiform Writing (a hands-on approach) 
  4. First States and Empires. City States, Akkadian Empire, UrIII, EB (3000-2000)
    1. Tutorial: Sumero- Akkadian Literature 
  5. Kingdoms and States (2000-1500) 
    1. Tutorial: Us vs. Them: Identify formation, re-formation, Immigrants, and the “other”
  6. The International Age (1500-1200/1050) 
    1. Tutorial: Ancient Scripts and Languages 
  7. Collapse! Local Players (1200-950) 
    1. No Tutorial
  8. Elamites 
    1. Tutorial: on Art and the Environment  
  9. Early Israel 
    1. Tutorial: Text as artefact 
  10. The Assyrians 
    1. Tutorial: Reading pottery 
  11. The Neo-Babylonians
    1. Tutorial: On the Discovery of the Ancient Near East 
  12. The Persians
    1. No Tutorial
  13. Study for Final Exam

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Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

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Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


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