Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course unit aims at introducing students to the European Prehistory and Protohistory with particular attention to the evolution of social structure and technological skill according the archaeological data. Through the analysis of particular contexts, at the end of the course students will reach a general knowledge of the earliest history of human occupation in Europe with detailed analysis of transformations in economical basis, settlement patterns, ideological and ritual customs during the Copper and Bronze Age. One more topic presented in the course is the environmental and climatic conditions that changed through the prehistoric ages and the response of human communities best evidenced by adaptation and transformations.

Course contents

The topics covered include:

  • Introduction: theories and methods
  • Neolithic Antecedents
  • Social change in the early metal age
  • State-societies of the Mediterranean
  • The Barbarian west? Adriatic
  • The Barbarian west? The Tyrrhenian and Western Mediterranean
  • Case study: Terramare
  • Northern Italy and Europe during the Bronze Age
  • The Mediterranean Network
  • The end of the Bronze Age
  • Thalassocracies and Migrations: Ancient mobilities and their political role in the contemporary world
  • Iron Age


Broodbank, C. 2013, The Making of the Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean from the Beginning to the Emergence of the Classical World. London: Thames & Hudson (Chapters 7-10)

Iacono, F. 2018, The archaeology of late Bronze Age interaction and mobility at the gates of Europe: people, things and networks around the southern Adriatic Sea. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic 2018.

Fokkens H., Harding A. (eds.) 2013, The European Bronze Age, Oxford, Oxford University Press. (selected chapters)

Melis P. 2003, Nuragic civilization, Delfino, Sassari.

De Marinis R.C. 2002, Towards a Relative and Absolute Chronology of the Bronze Age in Northern Italy, Notizie Archeologiche Bergomensi, 7, 1999 (2002), pp. 23-100.

Cardarelli A. 2010, The collapse of the Terramare culture and growth of new economic and social systems during the Late Bronze Age in Italy, in Cardarelli A., Cazzella A., Frangipane A., Peroni R., a c. di, Le ragioni del cambiamento. “Nascita”, “declino” e “crollo” delle società tra la fine del IV e inizio I mill. a.C., Atti del Convegno internazionale, Scienze dell’Antichità 15, pp. 449-520.


The pdfs of the lectures are also part of the readings as they summarise material that is not always present in the readings.

Teaching methods

The course is organized in 15 sessions of 2 hours each. Approximately every 5 hours of lectures, one is dedicated to discussing the topics covered (seminar). Participation to such sessions is strongly recomended as it is an integral part of the teaching and assessment process.

A session will be dedicated to a visit to the Archaeological Museum in Bologna.

Assessment methods

Assessment will include an oral examination, a brief presentation of a group-work agreed with the teacher during the course and, in the case of students non-attending, the realization of a written essay to be agreed with the course organiser (contacting him at least 4 weeks in advance). The essay must be delivered to the course organiser via email at least 3 weeks before the scheduled exam date.

Teaching tools

Powerpoint presentations will be availableon the moodle platform

Office hours

See the website of Francesco Iacono