The continuing education program offers special interest and educational courses with a difference focusing on art, archaeology, culture, history, science, literature and writing, music and life skills.

Tue 16 Oct 2018 - Tue 20 Nov 2018

18:00 - 20:00

6 Sessions
18 spots remaining.

The New Kingdom was the period of Ancient Egyptian history when the pharaohs marched forth from the Nile Valley and conquered an empire. Egypt was at its zenith, ruled by a succession of powerful pharaohs who commanded respect from nearby states. Goods obtained via trade, together with tribute and booty, flowed into Egypt, leading to an increase in wealth of both the pharaoh and temples. However, tensions existed within this seemingly mighty edifice, at least partially reflected in the Amarna period. The Hittite state proved a worthy adversary, engaging in both conflict and treaty with Egypt. We will examine the opulent pharaonic state and the international world of the period.

Course outline

The Late Bronze Age of the eastern Mediterranean region was one dominated by powerful states, of which the most important was New Kingdom Egypt. The pharaohs of the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties succeeded in creating a powerful and wealthy nation-state, and through military conquest came to rule much of Syria-Palestine and the adjacent lands to the south of Egypt.  Other major states of the period, such as Hatti (the kingdom of the Hittites), Assyria, Babylonia, Mitanni and the Mycenaean Greeks, were largely independent, although they all acknowledged the magnificence of the Egyptian kingdom.  This was a world interconnected by trade and diplomatic relations.   However, around 1200 BC this complex world collapsed, an event that marks the end of the Bronze Age.  Many sites were destroyed, while whole states such as Hatti and Mycenaean Greece vanished from the pages of history. This is also the time when the Classical Greeks set the Trojan War, a conflict that saw the end of the city of Troy. 

Topics covered include:

  • Background issues – historical sources, chronology, writing systems and language. 
  • The origins and major features of the Egyptian New Kingdom together with a survey of the pharaohs of the XVIIIth, XIXth and XXth dynasties.  Emphasis will be placed upon the imperialistic expansion of Egypt into the Near East and up the Nile into modern Sudan.
  • The Amarna period, and what it may tell us about tensions within the Egyptian state.. 
  • Brief outlines of the other major states of the period that interacted with Egypt – the Hittite Empire, Mesopotamian powers, Mitanni and the Mycenaean Greeks.  The international character of the period is high-lighted by the Amarna letters. 
  • The end of the Late Bronze Age – the collapse of states such as Mycenaean Greece and the Hittite Empire, the decline of Egypt, and the appearance of the Sea Peoples in the eastern Mediterranean.  The theories that have been proposed to account for the end of this stable era are discussed.
  • A look at the possible historicity of the Trojan War against the fabric of the end of the Late Bronze Age.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you learn:

  • to appreciate the importance of written sources in the reconstruction of history 
  • understand how the chronology of ancient Egypt has been established 
  • the division of the history of ancient Egypt into three ‘kingdoms’ and intervening periods when centralised power was lacking
  • the rule of the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period
  • the major pharaohs of the New Kingdom (XVIII, XIX, XX dynasties) and their achievements
  • the expansion of New Kingdom Egypt both south into modern Sudan and north into the Levant (Syria/Israel/Lebanon)
  • the role of Akkadian as a lingua franca in the 2nd millennium BC 
  • of the likely turbulent times that accompanied the reign of Akhenaten (Amarna period)
  • that modern molecular techniques have been used in efforts to identify mummies and reconstruct the history of the end of the XVIIIth dynasty. 
  • of the clash between the Egyptian New Kingdom empire and that of the Hittites 
  • The decline of Egypt and the arrival of the Sea Peoples 
  • The collapse of civilisations around 1200 BC

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in history.

Tue 05 Feb 2019 - Tue 26 Mar 2019

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions
16 spots remaining.

Outline coming soon

Wed 23 Jan 2019 - Tue 26 Mar 2019

18:00 - 20:00

6 Sessions
16 spots remaining.

By examining the processes involved we will use case studies from a range of periods throughout the world to demonstrate and illustrate how the discipline functions. This short course will provide a basic understanding of the depth and breadth of archaeology. Beginning with a brief history of the discipline, we will cover the study of human history from the migration out of Africa through to the historical period. Using case studies, we will examine a range of time periods and regions from around the world including North Africa, Europe, the New World and the Pacific. Ideal for the budding archaeology enthusiast.

Course outline

  • Week 1 - Archaeology defined. Following a brief discussion on what defines archaeology as a discipline, we will look at the history and development of archaeological investigation. This will include the evolution and a range of theories and techniques used to study the past including dating.
  • Week 2 - The Neolithic Revolution. The domestication of plants and animals heralded the arrival of the first boom period in the development of civilizations. From the Near-East and through Europe, we will discuss the ramifications of agriculture, trade and urbanisation on human populations. More than just a technology, the arrival of metals produced another 'revolution' in cultural development. We will look at the origins of metallurgy and its spread through Europe and Asia and how human populations reacted to its introduction. As a case study, we will examine the culture of the so-called Celtsâ in Europe and discuss the idea of a pan-European culture.
  • Week 3 - Hunters and gatherers across the Wallace Line. During this session, we will examine the evidence for the settlement of Australia, from its earliest period, through climatic change to Colonial impact. We will also discuss the settlement of Melanesia and Polynesia. Easter Island will be used as a case study for this topic.
  • Week 4 - The Americas. The American continents were settled far later than the other major land-masses but developed much the same way as Europe. We will discuss the origins of the first Americans and the rise of civilisation there concluding with the Aztecs, Maya and Inca.
  • Week 5 - Archaeology & Science. New techniques have enabled archaeologists to revisit material that was long forgotten. Using case studies, we will examine a few of the advances made in science that have helped archaeologists reveal deep insights into past human behaviour.
  • Week 6 - History, Heritage and Archaeology. Archaeology is not only concerned with the deep past. This session introduces historical and industrial Archaeology using case studies from Colonial Australia and Industrial UK. The Past as a Commodity - who owns the Past? Whether we realise it or not, most of us are involved in cultural heritage management at some point in our lives.

Whenever we visit a museum or historic site, heritage management has been put into practice - both good and bad. Tourism in some areas relies heavily on the archaeology of its region. This session will discuss the pros and cons of good heritage management and how management plans were developed for some of the world's most famous sites - Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, the Pyramids of Giza, the Empire State Building - just to name a few.

Who should enrol

People thinking about archaeology as a career or wishing to get more out of their travels. Anyone interested in this fascinating look into our past.

No dates are currently scheduled.

Teacher: Dr Beatrice Bodart-Bailey

Japan’s geographical position as a string of islands positioned along the coastline of a large continent, yet divided from this continent by dangerous currents, shaped its history and culture. So did the hundred active volcanoes dotting the islands, frequent earthquakes and tsunamis, the fertile volcanic soil, the heavy monsoon rains and the typhoons that destroyed invading armies in past centuries and still cause havoc every year. Using an abundance of visual material this course will survey Japanese history and culture from its beginnings to the early 20th century with due consideration to its geographic and climatic features.

  • Topic 1: Introduction: the geographic and climatic features. Where did the first people on the island chain come from? Jômon culture and its fantastic pottery.
  • Topic 2:  A new wave of immigrants: rice cultivation, mega tombs, mirrors, swords and a female ruler.
  • Topic 3: The formation of central government. The introduction of Buddhism and the role of Shinto. New cultural streams from the continent.
  • Topic 4: The founding of the imperial capital of Kyoto. The refined culture of the aristocracy. The rise of the samurai: recruited to serve the emperor, they usurped his political authority; setting up their capital at Kamakura they created new cultural norms.
  • Topic 5: Internal strife and the arrival of the Christian missionaries. A Japanese embassy to Rome. Artistic and cultural gains from the encounter between East and West.
  • Topic 6: The unification of the country, the sword hunt and formal creation of the samurai class. The Tea Ceremony: its political and cultural significance. The establishment of Tokugawa rule. Persecution of Christianity and the closure of the country.
  • Topic 7: Two and a half centuries of peace, the growth of the mega city of Edo (Tokyo) as administrative capital, the flowering of popular culture and the arts (haiku, kabuki, woodblock print, etc.), the extraordinary ruler mocked as the Dog Shogun and the changing role of the samurai. The Dutch and the impact of their presence in Japan.
  • Topic 8: The natural disasters of the 18th and 19th century, the opening of Japan, the end of shogunal rule: the young Meiji emperor as figure head of the modern state. The political and cultural impact of contact with the West and the ensuing frantic pace of modernization.

 Learning outcomes

 Upon completion of this course, you should:

  • appreciate how the environment has shaped the culture and history of Japan
  • understand to what extent China, Korea and the West impacted on the culture and history of Japan
  • be aware how frequent natural disasters shaped religious believes and philosophical tenets in Japan, differing from those of other countries
  • know the difference between Buddhism and Shinto and the political role played by these two religions
  • have some appreciation of the role of Christianity in Japan
  • know about the origins of samurai culture and the role it played over the course of Japanese history
  • be aware of how the position of Japanese women changed over the course of Japanese history
  • understand how even after the so-called closure of Japan, cultural exchange led to advances in science and the arts in Japan and the West
  • appreciate how under the infamous Dog Shogun, laws were promulgated some of which appeared in the West only 200 years later
  • have learned about the life in perhaps the largest and most densely populated city in the world, twice the size of London in the pre-modern period.

Who Should Enrol

Anyone desiring to understand and appreciate the history and culture of Japan.