Pyramids and Elephants: The Kingdom of Kush (ARC2128)

StaffDr Robert Morkot - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

To introduce the archaeological and historical sources and enable students to understand how a range of attitudes has led to different interpretations of the same material in different ways over the past 200 years.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Acquire a sound knowledge of the historical and cultural development of the Middle Nile to Fifth Century AD.
  • 2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the range of approaches that have been used to understand the archaeology and history of the region

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Demonstrate originality in the interpretation of a range of visual and textual materials
  • 4. Understand a range of cultural issues

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Make observations and draw interpretations from a body of material.
  • 6. Demonstrate critical awareness

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • The geography and environment of the northern Sudan
  • Cultures of the Nile Valley and adjacent regions south of Egypt
  • Interpreting race and culture in north Africa
  • The history and archaeology of northern Sudan from c.5000 BC to c.AD 500
  • Interactions of Kush with Pharaonic, Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching22Class lectures 11 x 2 hours
Scheduled learning and teaching5Tutorial to discuss issues around assignments
Guided independent study 123To include reading and preparation for lectures, tutorials and assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Class based discussion of case studiesIn class1-6Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case study of an artefact or site502500 words: to include map/plan; illustrations and captions1-2, 4-6Written feedback
Written assignment from a choice of titles502500 words: to include map/plan; illustrations and captions1-5Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Case study of an artefact or siteCase study of an artefact or site1,2,4-6Referral/Deferral period
Written assignment from a choice of titlesWritten assignment from a choice of titles1-5Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Edwards, David N., The Nubian Past: an Archaeology of the Sudan . Routledge 20014
  • Morkot, Robert, 2000, The Black Pharaohs: Egypt's Nubian Rulers . London : Rubicon.
  • O'Connor, David, 1993, Ancient Nubia, Egypt's Rival in Africa. University Museum of archaeology and anthropology .
  • Welsby, Derek A., 1996, The Kingdom of Kush: the Napatan and Meroitic empires . London: British Museum Press.

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date


Key words search

Kush, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Ptolemaic Dynasty