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The study of history is an inquiry into past experience that helps make the present more intelligible. A study of the past is invaluable, for to be unaware of history is to be ignorant of those forces that have shaped our social and physical worlds. Through the study of ancient history, students learn both about the interaction of societies and the impact of individuals and groups on ancient events and ways of life. The study of ancient history gives students an understanding of the possibilities and limitations of comparing past to present and present to past by exposing them to a variety of perspectives on key events and issues. It also gives students opportunities to develop their own perspectives on the origins and influence of ideas, values and behaviours that are still relevant in the modern world.
Students study ancient history because it provides them with opportunities to satisfy their fascination and interest in the stories of the past and the mysteries of human behaviour. It allows them to develop and apply the research skills and methodologies of the historian and archaeologist. It equips students to question critically and interpret written and archaeological sources for the evidence they provide about the ancient world.
Through the study of ancient history, students develop knowledge and understanding of the similarities and differences between the various societies of the ancient past and the factors affecting change and continuity in human affairs.
A study of ancient history contributes to students’ education, introducing them to a wide range of religious beliefs and customs, ideologies and other cultures. This broad knowledge encourages them to develop an appreciation and understanding of different views and makes them aware of how these views contribute to individual and group actions.
Scope and Sequence
Ancient History Stage 6 has a unique role in the school curriculum because it allows students to study and analyse past societies with a detachment conferred by the perspectives of at least two millennia. It draws on a variety of disciplines and sources, both written and archaeological, such as literary works, coins, inscriptions, art, architecture, artefacts and human remains, enabling students to piece together an informed and coherent view of the past. Because the amount of surviving evidence is relatively small, students are able to consider it in its entirety and thus weigh their own interpretations alongside those found in published secondary works, while noting how to deal with gaps in the evidence. In addition, it introduces students to scientific methods used in the historian’s investigation of archaeological evidence.
Scope and Sequence