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Year 10: Term 4: 'Lost' Civilisations

'Lost' Civilisations


Archaeology is the study of human history using material remains. In this task you are being asked to discuss the validity of the statement ‘Archaeology and science have worked together to bring life to societies from the past by identifying key characteristics of a society'.
Archaeology could include discussions of  the society's 
  • Expeditions by archaeologists to the site(s) and then Excavation at the site
  • Features of the site(s). (These include non-portable remains, such as pyramids, tombs, settlements or even post-holes)
  • Artifacts (These include portable remains, or objects made by humans, such as tools, clothing, and decorations - see Museums and University collections)
  • Ecofacts (Examination of naturally organic or inorganic remains found in an archaeological site, suggesting they were deposited as a result of human activity eg seeds, charcoal, minerals, and unmodified shell or bone) 
  • Human remains (Examination of the age, sex, height, health, nutritional status of the individual, which may be able to provide important information on the culture)
  • Radiocarbon dating (a scientific analysis of carbon-based materials, most frequently charcoal from an ancient fire hearth)
  • Relative dating (the systematic style changes in a people's tools to know how old a site or artifact is)
  • Genomic analysis of biological remains (DNA or paleopathology - the study of ancient diseases and injuries through the examination of fossils, mummified tissue, or skeletal remains)
  • Aerial photography
  • Remote sensing (Remote sensing techniques with infrared films, radar sensors and scanners)
  • GIS (Geographic Information Systems) increases the ability to map and record data when it is used directly at the excavation site
  • Stratigraphy (the study of layered materials (strata) that were deposited over time, and may include soils, sediments, and rocks, as well as man-made features such as pits and postholes)
Other sources of information
  • Written records/documents (including inscriptions) or Oral history handed down 
If the society had written or language records, they give historians resources to deal with that are more detailed in some ways than other records, such as archaeological or biological remains.

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'Lost' Civilisations

The name Troy refers both to a place in legend and a real-life archaeological site in modern day Turkey, near Gallipoli. In legend, Troy is a city that was besieged for 10 years and eventually conquered by a Greek army led by King Agamemnon. The Trojan horse was a huge hollow wooden horse constructed by the Greeks to gain entrance into Troy during the Trojan War. Despite the warnings the horse was taken inside the city gates. That night Greek warriors emerged from it and opened the gates to let in the returned Greek army, who slaughtered the Trojans and burnt the city.

Cover Art Lost Worlds and Mysterious Civilizations

Immortalized in Homer's epic works The Iliad and The Odyssey, the legendary city of Troy was the stage on which devastating battles were fought and heroic deeds were done during Troy's conflict with the Greeks.

Encyclopedia Britannica: Troy

British Museum: The search for the lost city of Troy 

UNESCO: Archaeological site of Troy

Live Science: Troy - The City and the Legend

Live Science: Archaeologists plan new dig at Troy

History101: The greatest find of the 21st century solves 3,000-year-old mystery of the Trojan War

Ancient History Encyclopedia: Troy

The Conversation: The Fall of Troy - The Legend and the Facts

Primary Sources
Open Learning: Sources for the Trojan War

Theoi: Quintus Smirnaeus - The Fall of Troy Book 1

Hittites (Crystal Links)

Early Antiquity: Ch 13 - The Hittite Kingdom 

The Hittite Kingdom 

The Hittites and the Aegean World (Penn Museum)

Nature Magazine: Early Hittite civilisation in Cilicia 

Making, preserving and breaking peace with the Hittite State 

Conflict and Reconciliation in the Ancient Middle East: The Clash of Egyptian and Hittite Chariots in Syria, and the World's First Peace Treaty between “Superpowers”

Five key  historical sites of the Hittites (World History Encyclopedia)

Primary Sources
The Battle of Kadesh and the Poem of Pentaur (World History Encyclopedia)

Miles of Clay: Information Management in the Ancient Near Eastern Hittite Empire (University of Chicago)


Cover ArtThe Hittites and Their World (Ebook)

Lost to history for millennia, the Hittites have regained their position among the great civilizations of the Late Bronze Age Near East, thanks to a century of archaeological discovery and philological investigation. The Hittites and Their World provides a concise, current, and engaging introduction to the history, society, and religion of this Anatolian empire, taking the reader from its beginnings in the period of the Assyrian Colonies in the 19th century B.C.E. to the eclipse of the Neo-Hittite cities at the end of the eighth century B.C.E.

World Famous Unsolved Mysteries: Scythians

Chapter from ebook. By Dubey, Abhay Kumar. From 'World Famous Unsolved Mysteries'. 2011. V&S Publishers. 

Frozen Siberian Mummies Reveal a Lost Civilization - Discover Magazine 

British Museum BlogIntroducing the Scythians

The Scythians - Lost Civilizations

Scythia and the Scythians - Gale in Context: World History database

Saving the frozen Scythian tombs of the Altai Mountains 


The real Amazons (National Geographic)

Primary Sources
Introducing the Scythians (British Museum)

Scythia: The men, the mummies (Nicholson Museum)


Cover ArtThe Scythians 700-300 BC (Ebook)

Though the 'Scythian period' in the history of Eastern Europe lasted little more than 400 years, the impression these horsemen made upon the history of their times was such that a thousand years after they had ceased to exist as a sovereign people, their heartland and the territories which they dominated far beyond it continued to be known as 'greater Scythia'. From the very beginnings of their emergence on the world scene the Scythians took part in the greatest campaigns of their times, defeating such mighty contemporaries as Assyria, Urartu, Babylonia, Media and Persia.

Cover ArtThe Scythians : Nomad Warriors of the Steppe (Ebook)

The Scythians were warlike nomadic horsemen who roamed the steppe of Asia in the first millennium BC. Using archaeological finds from burials and texts written, mainly, by Greeks, this book reconstructs the lives of the Scythians, exploring their beliefs, their burial practices, their love of fighting and their flexible attitude to gender.

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