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NSW Syllabuses

Rationale

The study of Ancient History engages students in an investigation of life in early societies based on the analysis and interpretation of physical and written remains. It offers students the opportunity to investigate the possible motivations and actions of individuals and groups, and how they shaped the political, social, economic and cultural landscapes of the ancient world. Ancient History stimulates students' curiosity and imagination and enriches their appreciation of humanity by introducing them to a range of cultures and beliefs as well as to the origins and influences of ideas, values and behaviours that are still relevant in the modern world. The investigation of the ancient past develops students’ appreciation of the diversity of ancient societies and the longevity of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The study of Ancient History is of contemporary relevance. It equips students with the skills to analyse and challenge accepted theories and interpretations about the ancient world, especially in light of new evidence or technologies. It requires students to analyse different interpretations and representations of the ancient world in forms such as literature, film and museum displays. Ancient History also raises important ethical issues associated with present and future ownership, administration and presentation of the cultural past. It encourages students to appreciate our responsibility for conserving and preserving the world’s cultural heritage.

The study of Ancient History requires students to understand and use historical concepts and apply skills in their investigation of the ancient world. It draws upon the methods used by historians and archaeologists to investigate sources from the past, and to communicate their findings and interpretations. In Ancient History, students engage with a range of sources, both physical and written. They are introduced to the complexities of reconstructing aspects of the past, often using fragmentary evidence from a range of literary, documentary and archaeological sources. Students are encouraged to develop their own interpretations and to compare these with those offered in published works.

Students develop transferable skills associated with the process of historical inquiry. These include critical literacy skills, for example interpreting, analysing and weighing evidence; synthesising evidence from a variety of sources; and developing reasoned and evidence-based arguments. Students develop increasingly sophisticated historiographical skills and historical understanding from the close study of features of ancient societies and their distinctive legacies to the analysis and interpretation of broader themes and issues from the ancient world.

The knowledge, understanding and skills that students acquire through studying Ancient History provide a firm foundation for further study, the world of work, active and informed citizenship, and for lifelong learning. It fosters a critical approach to understanding events, issues and interpretations as well as the effective communication of accounts conveying ideas, judgements and evidence.