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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Online Scheduled



Unit rationale, description and aim

Historians and archaeologists studying Ancient Israel can use abundant evidence from texts, inscriptions, reliefs and archaeology to make sense of the First Temple Period, 970 – 586 BCE. The first temple in Jerusalem was built under King Solomon. After his death, the northern tribes of Israel and Judah split into two kingdoms. Two centuries later, Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, while Judah narrowly escaped, allowing the continuation of the Davidic monarchy. The period ended with the fall of Judah to the Babylonians and the destruction of the Temple with much of the population being led off into captivity and exile where, according to newly interpreted texts, they prospered rather than sorrowed! What evidence is there for a united kingdom of Solomon, the temple, and the practical administration of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah? How was trade, warfare and diplomacy conducted? The aim of this unit is to use comparative analysis of texts (including the Hebrew Bible and troves of cuneiform tablets), inscriptions, reliefs and archaeological evidence to examine the process of state formation and the trials and tribulations of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah as they interacted with the neighbouring Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian empires and smaller states. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Explain and compare knowledge from sources of evidenceGC2, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO2Critically analyse the impact of archaeological discoveries on our understanding of the history of the First Temple periodGC1, GC2, GC7
LO3Research and evaluate sources to assess the reliability of the ahistorical narrative in the Hebrew BibleGC1, GC3, GC7, GC9


Topics will include:

  • Sources of information – texts, inscriptions and reliefs
  • Archaeological evidence from the Iron Age II
  • The story from the Hebrew Bible – Kings, Chronicles and the prophets
  • Solomon and his successors in the Kingdom of Judah
  • The Assyrians under Sennacherib
  • The destruction of the kingdom of Israel
  • The Babylonian empire, the fall of Judah and destruction of the temple
  •  Exile in Babylon

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, the equivalent of 12.5 hours per week for 12 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities plus reading, research, and the preparation and submission of assessment tasks. The unit is offered fully online. Students will acquire broad knowledge about the practice of history and archaeology and their relationship with one another through lectures and tutorials based on enquiry-based learning using research into texts, inscriptions, reliefs and archaeological evidence. Students will be asked to evaluate, synthesise and critically reflect upon different types of evidence building skills in weighing the value of information.

Students will be recognised as adult learners who engage best when they see that the learning is relevant and are given the opportunity to be responsible for own discovery and learning. This is vital for anyone engaged in any sort of research. Active participation in this unit is essential. Learning is designed to be an engaging and supportive experience, which will help develop the capacity to synthesise knowledge and communicate it effectively.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed that students can progressively demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.  Task 1 requires students to briefly explain and compare the major types of sources used to inform our understanding of the First Temple Period. This task is designed to allow students to display the achievement of learning outcome 1. It is a relatively low-risk assessment that will test interpretative skills, as well as academic writing techniques. Feedback provided from Task 1 will help students with the other two assessment tasks. 

Task 2 invites students to critically analyse one significant impact of an archaeological discovery on our understanding of the historical and political narrative of Ancient Israel. This is to be demonstrated by analysing the archaeological discovery and comparing it with historical evidence. The principal focus of this task is to allow students to display achievement of all three learning outcomes and is weighted accordingly. 

Task 3 asks students to research and evaluate sources. The principal focus of this task is to practice and display achievement of learning outcomes 2 and 3. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Short introductory research task

Requires students to briefly explain and compare the value to historians of two major categories of written sources and/or reliefs used to inform our understanding of the First Temple Period.



Assessment Task 2: Critical analysis

Requires students to critically analyse the impact of a significant archaeological discovery on our understanding of the historical narrative of the First Temple Period.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 3: Research task

Requires students to research and evaluate sources to assess the reliability of the narrative accounts in the Hebrew Bible.


LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

Čapek, Filip and Oded Lipschits. 2019. The Last Century in the History of Judah: The Seventh Century BCE in Archaeological, Historical, and Biblical Perspectives. Atlanta: SBL.

Darby, Erin. 214. Interpreting the Judean Pillar Figurines: Gender and Empire in Judean Apotropaic Ritual. Tübingen. Mohr Siebeck.

Kaptijn, Eva. 2009. Life on the Water Shed: Reconstructing Subsistence in a Steppe Region Using Archaeological Survey: A Diachronic Perspective on Habitation in the Jordan Valley. Sidestone.  

Keimer, Kyle H., and George A. Pierce. 2023. The Ancient Israelite World. London & New York: Routledge.

Pfoh, Emanuel, ed. 2022. T&T Clark Handbook of Anthropology and the Hebrew Bible. London: Bloomsbury.  

Routledg, Bruce. 2004. Moab in the Iron Age: Hegemony, Polity, Archaeology. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Stiener, Margreet. 2019. Inhabiting the Promised Land: Exploring the Complex Relationship between Archaeology and Ancient Israel as Depicted in the Bible. Oxfrod; Oxbow.  

Waerzeggers, Caroline and Jonathan Stökl. 2015. Exile and Return The Babylonian Context. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Woolmer, Mark. 2021. A Short History of the Phoenicians. London: Bloomsbury.

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